Remember Econet’s Green Kiosk chargers? A Swaziland based company has just launched a solution along those lines, with the only difference that theirs is just the charging solution and it can be conveniently carried around easily. It’s called an eChaja and it basically simplifies solar charging into a small unit that individuals can buy as a “Business in a box” solution. Think the airtime vendors at street corners!
The solution makes sense if you understand how people in an area that’s not covered by the national power grid charge and use their phones. Usually its a case of fist buying a phone that’s got a robust battery – which rules out smartphones – and then, to charge it most people have to take the phone to the nearest market center where local small grocery shops have electricity or a proper solar powered premises. But the local market can be many kilometers away which leaves mobile users either with uncharged phones, or just having to deal with this huge time wasting inconvenience. How big a deal is this? Econet says they lose at least 20% revenues annually to uncharged phones!
The eChaja comes in as a solution to this. According to the company the eChaja was designed and built in South Africa and is specially designed for rugged use. It comes in a portable suitcase to be bought by individuals that want to turn charging phones into a small business. The unit can be set up anywhere outside to start charging phones immediately. According to their site the eChaja has 6 cigarette lighter sockets that accept standard cigarette lighter phone chargers normally used in cars. You can read more about the eChaja here.
The eChaja is made by a company called Mikro Lite and it is available to either buy or rent from them. We tried to get the price from them but they hadn’t responded by the time we published this. If they do we’ll update the article.
Update: they responded, here:
a unit costs complete as per the web site
- 1 x echaja
- 6 x cell phone charging cables
- 1 x 40watt folding solar panel with on panel MPPT control which is buck boost to 35volts
- 1 x shoulder bag for the solar panel
- 1x hiviz apron
- 1 x eChaja cap
- 6 x eChaja tokensEx works price is E5,000.00 (5 thousand Emalangeni) or Rands. Ready to use.A optional hi power led light and shade is an additional E195,00