REEEP and Caritas Switzerland announced the opening of the Bach Khoa solar-powered e-bike station in Hanoi, Vietnam on February 12th, 2015. The venture, based in an innovative business model for recharging and servicing e-bikes in Hanoi, was made possible by the generous support of the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs. The solar e-bike system is a prime example of how the REEEP and SECO mission to provide crucial aid for market development and business innovation has enabled cutting-edge market-oriented solutions to environmental and development challenges.
Through its Smart Cities Focal Area, REEEP is building a portfolio designed to make cities more efficient and sustainable, while improving the health and livelihoods of urban residents. Mobility is a central challenge for city dwellers, planners and economies.
The Bach Khoa project, managed by Caritas Switzerland, is now coming to fruition with the launch of the solar e-bike station; a model that is laying the foundation for long-term and sustainable approaches to Hanoi’s transport needs, and setting an example for cities across Vietnam and throughout the region.
Caritas Switzerland’s approach is unique in the context of Hanoi and Vietnam, where motorcycles – and increasingly automobiles – remain the dominant transportation types. By supporting the Bach Khoa E-Bike (BK-Ebike) project, REEEP and Caritas are aiming to change transportation habits and transform the perception of popular vehicles and shifting market demands by exposing primarily young students to solar-powered e-bikes and a unique rental system.
BK-Ebike provides students with high-quality, affordable vehicles, which can be recharged at solar-powered charging stations operated by persons with disabilities. A focus on awareness-raising and disseminating best practices and relevant insights to policy-makers are aimed at maximising the potential for replication in other cities.
Key achievements to date
BK-Ebike has so far completed an in-depth analysis of e-bike market potentials, available technologies and economic considerations, and developed an impact-oriented business model integrating economically and socially-disadvantaged. Caritas spearheaded the project, researching and recruiting a local partner to operate the business and developing and nurturing the network necessary to support the project in the long term. By expanding the target group to international tourists interested in sustainable tourism, Caritas added a valuable component to the project that could serve in the further development as a role model for promoting the technology.