Through design thinking, a team of researchers and students from Nigeria, Ghana and Germany has identified rural transportation as a key enabler for addressing the most pressing challenges in the developing world. Since 2013, the team has been working together on designing a new vehicle concept for Sub-Saharan Africa.

The aim of the project is to provide the rural population in Sub-Saharan Africa with an attractive mobility concept that helps to prevent the rural exodus and strengthens the independence of the rural regions. A promising concept must consider the specific market requirements and the resources available locally in order to address the heart of the problem as a “First Mile Vehicle”.

This paper aims to introduce a holistic framework for frugal innovation and to analyze the process of deriving the vehicle concept meeting regional requirements until it is ready for serial production. The focus, therefore, is demand-driven development of a multifunctional electric vehicle that primarily provides mobility for the individual and transport of people and goods as a possible commercial basis.

The result of the research and design process is a vehicle concept that meets the needs of the people living in rural areas of Sub-Saharan Africa. The first fully functional prototype of this vehicle was presented to the public at the Technical University of Munich in May 2016.

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