• Mar 24th 2014 at 7:57AM
  • 4
Crowdfunding has not been kind to electric vehicle projects. The Derringer electric bike, while cool, didn't make it. The ultra-fast battery charger idea raised just $2,666 out of a $50,000 goal. And there are many more failed examples. (That Kickstarter project for that EV coloring book, on the other hand, did reach its modest goal.)

Nonetheless, the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya is looking for help from the greater Internet to create a diesel-hybrid electric vehicle to use for safari expeditions in the park, which claims to be "East Africa's largest black rhino sanctuary." The problem, the park says in its IndieGoGo campaign, is that current safari vehicles in some ways distance the visitors from the experience, thanks to those noisy, diesel powertrains.

Thus, Ol Pejeta wants to create a new vehicle that will be designed to provide better animal viewing and have the ability to run silently. The group is asking for $50,000 to complete the design and blueprint process, which will be done by the Royal College of Art. Green Automotive, the company that bought Liberty Electric Cars and its plans to create electric Liberty Range Rovers, has agreed to act as powertrain advisers and will provide production at cost.

The $50,000 goal is just step one. Ol Pejeta says it would like to raise $100,000 to create the first prototype. Sadly, while we're all for using EVs to sneak up on lions, we don't have a lot of hope for this particular crowdfunding project. It's been up for two weeks already and only raised a smidge over $700. Ol Pejeta seems to be aware that things could go south. The listing reads: "In the event that we raise more than the design process but less than prototype production then rewards will continue to be honoured and the funds will go towards ongoing conservation innovation on Ol Pejeta."

Safari Vehicle of the Future from Ol Pejeta on Vimeo.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      Marco Polo
      • 8 Months Ago
      Just a couple of points of correction to Sebastian Blanco's article Hino Motors Ltd, a division of Toyota have been producing diesel-electric hybrid trucks and buses for some years. Yulon Motors of the ROC, has also produced several of of this type of vehicle. But, more importantly, "Green Automotive, the company that bought Liberty Electric Cars and its plans to create electric Liberty Range Rovers" , is completely misleading ! Liberty Electric Cars has been producing, and selling, the highly successful 200 miles + range, all electric LERR for several years, in addition to it's range of Modec vans.( In fact ABG has published several articles about the LERR over the years ! ). Although Safari vehicles are perfect for electric vehicles, ( outside of Africa) , the high capital cost usually prevents the parks from buying. In most of the parks, the range of the vehicles isn't great, and three phase power charging facilities are already available. World -wide there are several countries already producing specialist vehicles of this sort. Ol Pejeta Conservancy, certainly has worthy aims, but would be better raising the funds to buy an existing vehicle from an established maker, than attempt to raise funds to build their own.
      • 8 Months Ago
      This is a great idea that the automakers never explore today. Hybrid diesel, i always dream at that ! OR MAYBE IS HARD TO ACCEPT TO E.P.A . IN U.S.?
        Actionable Mango
        • 8 Months Ago
        The Volvo V60 has a diesel hybrid version, but it is not available in the USA and it is also horrendously expensive.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Safari vehicles are perfect target for electrification - specifically series hybrids where gas engine can be completely turned off and silenced for a long time. It will disturb the animals much less, opportunities for better encounters go way up.
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