Eco Car Solaire

Making the icon of Dakar

sustainable and environmentally friendly!

30th Oct 2019 at 6 pm

Crowdfunding Launch

Project presentation and discussion
Senegalese aperitifs
Pfingstweidstr. 10, Zurich.

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2nd Nov 2019 at 7pm

Crowdfunding Boost Party

Project presentation, African food
Stand-up comedy: Eddie Ramirez
Party with Afrobeaz, Ragga, R&B, Semba, Kizomba

Im GALOTTI, Lessingstrasse 15, Zürich

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8th Nov 2019 at 6 pm

Crowdfunding Exhibition

MUSEKE, a Vision for Africa,
Heritage, Innovation and AfroFuturism
Photography & Artwork by MANDU
@Ethnicity Gallery

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The Project

By using innovative and climate-friendly technologies, Eco Car Solaire aims at converting Dakar’s famous icons – the artistically painted cars rapides – into a solar-powered, environmentally friendly means of transportation.

The main focus is sustainable, urban mobility for everyone. Acting as a pioneer for remodeling this lively African metropolis into a climate-neutral place to live, Eco Car Solaire comes with a clear vision: it sees itself as a beacon for an environmentally sound, modern African city. A city free from environmentally harmful exhaust gases and air pollution, accessible to all.

Project History

For several decades, the cars rapides have provided transportation to thousands of Dakar commuters every single day, ensuring them vital access to urban mobility.

80% of Dakar’s inhabitants depend on affordable public transport, which connects the inner city with outlying areas. It has been particularly crucial for the means of transport to have access to the narrow and often poorly maintained streets of the so-called informal sectors, the slums. Without the cars rapides, it would become impossible for the market place vendors – mainly women – to supply these areas with the basic stock of food such as vegetables and fish.

But this is now about to come to an end. The robust cars rapides are to be replaced by an official bus transportation system. Unfortunately, the introduction of the new system will have a fatal impact on the infrastructure and knowledge built up over the decades by the cars rapides operators, drivers and repair garages. Dakar would lose not only all of this, but also its characteristic city symbol – the cars rapides – proudly covering innumerable postcards.

It is clear that the old diesel engines have become obsolete. Smelly, polluting exhaust gases, fine dust and environmentally harmful CO2 are clearly not compatible with a livable, environmentally sound African city.

Still, does this icon of Dakar, catering for some 30,000 jobs, really need to disappear?

This is where the Eco Car Solaire project steps in: it wants to revolutionise Dakar’s informal transportation system by transforming the old cars rapides into modern, environmentally friendly cars solaires.



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The Solution

The solution proposed by Eco Car Solaire, a project initiated by mandu|architexture & urbanizm, is to convert the cars rapides into solar-powered vehicles. A conversion kit developed in collaboration with the Swiss institute Ökozentrum, a pioneer in the area of e-mobility, will enable local mechanics to convert the cars rapides into cars solaires.


Together with Senegalese solar companies and the CETUD, the Executive Council of Public Transport of Dakar, EcoCar Solaire will build up a network of solar-power stations where the new minibuses can recharge their batteries. Operationally, the cars solaires will be managed by a cooperative formed by the association of car rapide bus drivers, which will also ensure the knowledge transfer.

Benefits of the Cars Solaires

100% renewable solar power

0% air pollution 0% CO2

no adverse health effects on inhabitants, users and drivers

30,000 secured jobs in the informal sector

strengthening of the local economy

knowledge transfer and creation of new jobs

recycling and use of existing resources

low-tech, low-cost and easily expanded solution

maintaining the cultural heritage and tourism icon of Senegal

Getting Involved

In order to fully convince the Senegalese government and investors of the benefits of the Eco Car Solaire, we want to build one or two pilot buses at the Ökozentrum in Switzerland and then drive the car solaire from Zurich to Dakar in a test trip.

Part of the necessary funding is already secured thanks to our financial partners. By launching a crowdfunding campaign we want to raise the remaining capital needed for this pilot phase.

We are running out of time. The Senegalese government has begun to scrap the robust cars rapides, maintained by a large network of skilled mechanics, in order to pave the way for an official, diesel-powered bus transportation system.

If we act fast, we can salvage the remaining cars rapides, convert them into cars solaires and secure the 30,000 jobs linked to them. For this, we need your help!

Support our crowdfunding campaign and help us build one or two car solaire pilot buses! By doing so, you will make a positive contribution to climate protection and strengthen local economic structures in Dakar.

From Zurich to Dakar

Do you wish to support our project?

Would you like to participate in a prize draw and win a free seat in the first car solaire test trip from Zurich to Dakar?


Mandu dos Santos Pinto

Mandu dos Santos Pinto

mandu|architexture & urbanizm

Initiator, Coordination and Project Development 

Carmela Ahokas Houben

Carmela Ahokas Houben

mandu|architexture & urbanizm


Mario Vögeli

Mario Vögeli



Joy Frempong

Joy Frempong

Museke association

Knowledge Transfer

Edouard Diatta

Edouard Diatta

mandu|architexture & urbanizm

Participatory Processes

Donato Ponzio

Donato Ponzio

Museke association

Administration and Finances

Daniel Habte

Daniel Habte

Museke association


Rosanna Burelli

Rosanna Burelli

mandu|architexture & urbanizm

Organisation and Social Media

Background Information / Urban Afrika

In many African cities, witnessing the highest annual rates worldwide of urban population growth (4.8%), the public bus transportation networks hardly work any more.

In addition, the official public bus networks are not capable of serving the informal sectors with their narrow and often poorly maintained streets. Bit by bit, the collective taxi service of the car rapide minibuses have filled this gap and today cater for the lion’s share (60%) of Dakar’s public transport.

A large portion of the city inhabitants, and in particular the poorest, depend on the cars rapides for urban mobility. At the same time, the minibuses are big contributors to air pollution and environmental damage. In fact, the latest air quality measurements in Dakar are alarming. The Eco Car Solaire project can counteract this by developing a sustainable, environmentally friendly and affordable public transportation system for everyone.

Partners & Organizations

Eco Car Solaire / Museke Verein
Erlachstrasse 36, 8003 Zürich

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