UAE start-up Solva Technologies wants to electrify express last mile

Solva Technologies electric delivery bikes for UAE last mile may reduce CO2 emissions by half a million tons.
The ST range comes with a battery pack that can be easily switched out for a fully charged one, for use by couriers and food delivery companies operating a 24-hour cycle.
The ST range comes with a battery pack that can be easily switched out for a fully charged one, for use by couriers and food delivery companies operating a 24-hour cycle.

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Solva Technologies is seeking to make last mile fulfilment in the UAE greener with the introduction of the country’s first ever all-electric delivery bikes.

Co-founders Mohamed and Yousif Al Abd, born in Sharjah, say they’re targeting the delivery market because of the growing number of courier bikes and food delivery bikes on the country’s roads, each producing around 10 kgs of CO2 daily.

With more than 30,000 delivery bikes registered in the UAE, according to the RTA, that’s more CO2 output than an A380 airliner flying to the UK and back.

“Two years ago, we were at a traffic light,” Mohamed told The National. “My brother, when he’s stressed, he likes to open the window to have some fresh air. He opened the window and was like: ‘No one can have fresh air any more, there’s bikes all over the place and you can’t breathe’. That’s when it clicked – we’ve heard about electric cars, but we’ve never heard about electric bikes.”

It took 18 months for the first Solva test bike to be completed, with support from Sharjah incubator Sheraa and The Catalyst accelerator at Abu Dhabi’s Masdar City, along with additional help from oil-and-gas giant BP.

Mohamed and Yousif hope to have 3,000 of their Chinese-built bikes on the UAE’s roads by the end of the year, with several large clients already in the bag, including AnyOrder, Freedom Pizza, Hardee’s and Zaatar W Zeit.

By 2020, Solva Technologies hopes to have taken over 40% of the delivery bike market.

“From a CO2 perspective, you are saving 100 per cent CO2 on a city level,” Yousif explains. “And you are saving 85 per cent on a power-planet level if you compare it to the CO2 you emit from using gasoline to operate your fleet.”

There are additional plans to expand across the GCC, with significant interest already in Saudi Arabia, and clients in Kuwait and Bahrain.

Solva Technologies is offering three models – SE 9000, ST 5000 and SC 6000.

The SE and SC are plug-in fully-electric bikes, designed for the government (SE) and delivery (SC) markets; the ST is also completely electric, and for delivery purposes, but is designed to have its battery easily switched for a full-charged one, to eliminate charging times for clients that have a 24-hour last mile operation.

Prices range from AED 10,000 up to AED 35,000 per bike.

Aside from the green impact, and the usual reduced maintenance costs of electric vehicles versus petrol equivalents, the bikes possess several other innovations that give them an edge over regular motorcycles.

There is a reverse function, while the regenerative motor replenishes your battery when you are not accelerating. And a GPS tracker along with data readings on speed, distance, routes, temperature and the like are combined to map faster ways to destinations for delivery riders.

Solve is also considering a same-day replacement service for any bikes that are damaged.

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