Competing with the bigwigs of the coffee industry is Wheelys, an ingenious solar-powered bicycle café that is currently making the news across the world. Designed by Sweden-based Nordic Society for Invention and Discovery, in collaboration with Pjadad, the contraption is in the form of a high-tech electric bike that opens up, almost like a Swiss Army Knife, into a fully-functional coffee cart. With start-up costs of less than 1-percent of what it would take to open a Starbucks franchise, the Wheelys Café is quickly becoming the preferred means of employment for millennials everywhere.
The new Wheelys 2.0 had its inception in Wheelys 1.0, a minimalist coffee bike with incredible eco-friendly credentials. Running on solar power, naturally-occurring butane gas and the kinetic energy generated by one’s body, the cart boasts a negative carbon footprint, while at the same time being CO2-neutral. So far, more than 30 units, of the original contraption, have been sold in various countries, including Germany, Chile, India, Canada, Jordan, Sweden and the United States. In a recently-concluded crowdfunding campaign, at Indiegogo, the Scandinavian company has introduced a new and improved version of the Wheelys Café.
Deemed as the world’s smallest and most efficiently-designed coffee cart, Wheelys 2.0 is claimed to maximize one’s earnings, to a staggering $700 a day, by serving sandwiches, desserts and refrigerated beverages, in addition to coffee. It opens up to reveal a host of attractive features, including sink and running water, fridge to keep food chilled, Wi-Fi and charging stations for both the owner and the customers and even LCD TV that displays the menu. The bicycle sports a 250W electric motor as well as a set of gears that aid you in traversing from one place to another. Maria De La Croix, of the Nordic Society for Invention and Discovery, said:
Wheelys can be said to be the world’s first open source brand. Anyone can order a Wheelys and operate it under the Wheelys brand, provided they follow some basic rules and respect the Wheely codex. This, together with the cheap price of opening a Wheelys, means that we can launch a full-scale global roll out in a very short time.
A champion of efficient space management, the Wheelys 2.0 contains a collapsible roof, a display area for croissants and macaroons, a waste basket with separate compartments for paper and plastic, a tank that can hold up to 20 liters of usable water and a foldable table for the customers. In addition to its visually striking exterior, the bike café possesses impressive eco-friendly qualities. For instance, a tank, situated just below the sink, collects and stores graywater, ready to be recycled and purified. Solar panels are used to power the charger, the onboard lights and also, the LCD display. Even the coffee is made via sustainable means, with the help of non-electrical siphon brewer. De La Croix said:
Wheelys can move, so you can meet the people where they are. At the same time, it has the same benefits as Starbucks—as a chain, it’s getting easier to find, and you know what you’ll get. It’s friendlier and more eco. People are also happier when they meet a Wheeler—I don’t think that people are that happy when they go to Starbucks.
Today, there are nearly 20,000 Starbucks outlets in the US alone. While being part of a global brand is in itself quite beneficial, the start-up investment is too high to be affordable for most people. By contrast, the Wheelys cart, worth less than $4000, provides young entrepreneurs a flexible, yet fun way to make a living. Sergej Kotliar, a member of the design team, said:
Our goal is that the owner of a bike and a franchise shall be able to repay his or her total investment in less than 20 days.
To know more about Wheelys, visit the brand’s official website.