Photo courtesy of Ol Pejeta Conservancy; photographer: Brendan Hill.
Are you ready to head off on an African safari in an electric-powered modern version of the legendary Land Rovers or Land Cruisers?
The Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, one of the largest wildlife reserves in the world, believes so as it enters into a partnership with California-based Green Automotive Company and the Royal College of Art in London to create the all electric Safari Vehicle of the Future.
Ol Pejeta Conservancy is a 90,000 acres home to East Africa’s largest Black Rhino Sanctuary and holds some of the highest predator densities in Kenya. Four of the last seven northern white rhinos in existence live along with populations of Grevy’s zebra, Jackson’s hartebeest, elephants, chimpanzees, lions, leopards and cheetahs.
Ol Pejeta declared it is always looking out for new and better ways to protect the wildlife and environment, while at the same time engaging with over 80,000 visitors a year.
The idea becomes obvious once you hear about it… Nothing ruins an outdoor experience and scares wild animals like the rattling sound of an old diesel engine.
“We live with the constant struggle to balance the wilderness wildlife with tourists’ requirements,” said Robert Breare, chief commercial officer of Ol Pejeta Conservancy. “Vehicles are vital for going around but are polluting, noisy and intrusive. It is time for change. Why not create vehicles that intrude less on the wildlife, allowing you to get closer with minimal impact and with zero emissions? A silent safari vehicle that makes you feel as if you are outside on foot, face to face with a lion or an elephant.”
Ol Pejeta said it has already produced a brief for this innovative vehicle. The aim is to create an all-electric solution that will allow silent safaris with zero emissions and which can travel off-road with a minimum foot-print. An improved cabin to sit in, with an all round uninterrupted line of sight should make visitors feel as if they are on foot or horseback and close to nature. Visitors should be able to experience the fascinating flora and fauna with all their senses and get the most out of their Safari Tour.
Green Automotive added it has been selected for the project due to the company’s leading electric vehicle design and engineering accomplishments. It will be responsible for the overall project management, development of the electric drive train and integration with the unique body structure. Design ideas and styling of the vehicle are being developed at the Royal College of Art (RCA), a postgraduate center for vehicle design.
“Vehicle Design at the RCA is dedicated to sustainable mobility solutions. We very much welcome this chance to support wildlife conservation, enhance the safari experience and enable emerging designers to make a real difference in an unique and significant environment,” said Professor Dale Harrow, Dean of the School of Design and Head of Vehicle Design.
Ol Pejeta is using Crowdfunding to finance the project. The first $50,000 will guarantee the design of the vehicle whereas another $100,000 will allow the creation of the first prototype.