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Electrician draws national attention with strange plan for reviving his town's economy: '[These cars] are the future'

"The president told me: 'Augusto, I'll buy it from you.'"

Venezuela solar-power

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Two men in Venezuela are hoping to move their city out of the shadow of its oily past and into a cleaner, more dependable future. 

To accomplish that, 43-year-old electrical technician José Cintron and 61-year-old Augusto Pradelli have transformed old golf carts into clean energy vehicles. Cintron developed a solar-powered car, while Pradelli created a micro-EV that can also utilize solar panels.

"These electric motors don't make noise, they don't vibrate, they don't pollute, they are the future," Pradelli told Reuters.

Cintron echoed Pradelli's vision of a cleaner future, saying, "Solar energy is the future — we have to stop relying on fossil fuels. But it's not overnight, and oil is not going to go away that easily."

Venezuela is home to the world's largest oil reserves, but a long, turbulent history of mismanagement has plummeted the South American country into economic ruin. Over the past few years, long lines at gas stations and power outages have become regular occurrences. 

EVs would help Venezuelans avoid long gas station lines, and adding solar power would help alleviate the stresses of power outages. 

"The beauty of solar charge is that as long as there is sun, the car is always charging," Pradelli told Reuters. "The sun is free, and that's what you have to take advantage of."

While cheap solar electric vehicles would be a welcome relief for many Venezuelan residents, the move to clean energy will also benefit the environment. 

Cutting down on air pollution from dirty energy sources is essential to cooling our planet. In the U.S., transportation accounted for 28% of total planet-heating pollution in 2021. 

Cintron and Pradelli live in Maracaibo, the second-largest city in Venezuela and once a very wealthy oil city. The two men are hoping to work together on their electric creations to help bring their city into the future — and even one day achieve national production. 

Pradelli told Reuters that President Nicolas Maduro noticed his vehicle at a science and technology event. 

"The president told me: 'Augusto, I'll buy it from you,'" he said. "[And I told him], 'It would be necessary to manufacture them, Mr. President, and for that, an industry, an assembler, is needed.'"

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