Tell us a few words about the founders and how the idea came
Although Chilled Squirrel is a start up, the business evolved over a period of 10 years before becoming a new startup. We were a team of bicycle technicians working in a workshop helping out people with physical challenges. These people were no longer able to cycle as they used to due to the result of an accident . For example – the loss of a leg , or paralysis or overweight . We were the only bicycle workshop in South Africa that we knew of that would help people like this. Because people have physical challenges they are often in need of electric mobility to give them pedal-assisted power. And that is how we evolved into becoming an electric bicycle company.
Your products and services
We are the only dedicated and specialized electric bike operations center in Africa – a dedicated specialized team of e-bike technicians and engineers who not only repair and maintain e-bikes but also convert any type of bicycle into an e-bike. We produce and customize emtb’s (electric mountain bikes), electric fat bikes (fat wheels for beaches and sand dune riding), electric cruiser bikes, electric folding bikes, electric recumbents (trikes) and electric hydrid bikes (road commuters).
We have also started to develop highly durable fully waterproof e-bikes for anti-poaching activities (save the Rhino projects) and for nature trails in Africa.
The Chilled Squirrel team – scattered from Taipei to Cape town – is united under the banner of badass. We unleash South African artisans, mechanics, and citizen tinkerers on the bikes, turning them into the most incredible custom rat rides you could imagine. Pedal power is augmented with Squirrel-spec high torque electric motors. These bikes move.
Your success factors
What we’ve achieved
- The only dedicated Electric Bike Operation Center and Workshop in Africa.
- Provide Jobs and Training to Local South African Artisans.
- Paint Shop for Frame repairs and for new e-bike frame preparations.
- Converted hundreds of bicycles into electric bikes in South Africa.
- Own licensed & staffed Office in Taiwan managing the quality of components for our supply chain.
- First electric bike company to invest in and market e-bikes in S.A long before electric bikes became mainstream.
- Able to add real value by customizing electric bikes to suit people’s different requirements.
Our business model is to help people take what is already existing and convert it into something useful. Many South Africans have bicycles laying around at home unused gathering dust. So what we do is we convert that into an electric bike. Something they can now use to commute with (instead of buying a second car) in a zero-emission fashion and get some exercise in the process without the stress.
A few words about your competitors
We are different from any other competitor we know of in S.A. We don’t just import complete e-bikes and sell them at a high price tag for a few people that can only afford them. We convert existing bikes into e-bikes. What makes us especially unique though – we celebrate local artisans by letting them add unique innovative and creative African designs to the bike. The saddles are handmade by local leather artisans. The frames are sprayed by our own team in-house – we are very much for supporting locally made and for supporting local jobs. Many of the members of our staff are people that lost their jobs and where we saw their unique abilities and invited them to join us. In South African unemployment is at over 20%, it’s a huge challenge and business needs to look at it and do something about it. We can’t wait for the government to help we need to make it happen. We create a win/win/win situation. The customers get unique locally made beautiful authentic African product. The company gets business and the members of our team get jobs and in this way, we create more jobs…
Please check out a little bit about our Artisans here.