Paul Ridden, New Atlas | October 7, 2021
Back in January, Swedish e-moto company Cake joined with the Southern African Wildlife College and Goal Zero to develop a special electric motorcycle to aid anti-poaching measures in the African bush. Now the bikes have been delivered and are in use by rangers.
Up until now wildlife rangers from the Southern African Wildlife College have been using gas-fueled motorbikes to patrol the bush in Africa in the search for poaching activity. But those bikes announce their presence long before they arrive in a troubled area, which is where the Kalk AP comes in.
The battery electric motorcycle is a much stealthier patrol option, and when combined with a mobile solar charging station from Goal Zero, the ride can be used deep in the bush, operating well away from the electrical grid.
“The petrol bikes we’ve used previously have all been loud, heavy and expensive to keep running in these areas,” said anti-poaching team leader, Mfana Xaba. “The Cake bikes are quiet, which makes it easier for us to approach poachers undetected. We hope this collaboration will result in more effective anti-poaching in our region and we are really excited to start using the bikes in the wild.”
Cake has essentially taken the best bits of its Kalk OR model, thrown a lightweight frame into the mix, sealed the drivetrain, added more robust suspension, and wrapped the 18-inch rims in custom off-road tires. A rear carrier is included for transporting medical equipment, the bike is fitted out with a powerful Silva headlight for night-time patrolling, and all of the plastic components have been swapped for Trifilon’s biocomposites.
The drivetrain software has been modified for high torque and there are three ride modes available – Explore for up to 45 km/h (28 mph) and an endurance of 3-4 hours between charges; Excite for up to 70 km/h (43.5 mph) and 1-2 hours of per-charge range; and Excel for maximum torque and speed from the 11-Kw motor for up to an hour before needing to top up the 2.6-kWh removable batteries.
“It’s great to see that the first batch of Kalk APs has made it to Africa, ready to change the game when it comes to fighting poaching in the most threatened wildlife areas,” said Cake’s founder and CEO, Stefan Ytterborn. “With fast, quiet and solar-powered driven bikes, we increase our chances of countering poaching and can truly make an impact in the region. This is only the beginning, we will continue to ship bikes to the SAWC to strengthen their anti-poaching work.”
In order to get more Kalk APs into the bush, Cake has set up a limited Charity Bundle where the first 50 customers are given the chance to purchase their own model and donate another to the Southern African Wildlife College. All for a ticket price of US$25k. The donation package includes the Goal Zero solar charging station.
Benevolent riders who take up this offer will receive continuous updates from the conservation areas where the donated AP is sent, and both Cake and Goal Zero will donate their profit margins from these sales to the Southern African Wildlife College to further its work.