December 11, 2023

Public transit As the global call for a shift to sustainable transport continues, Kenya’s electric vehicle industry is driving the adoption of electric vehicles in the country.

Last year, commercial electric public transport buses were deployed for the first time on several routes in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, marking the beginning of the transition for some public bus operators from fossil fuel vehicles.This follows the electric motorcycle taxis (locally known as Boda Bodahas entered the popular two-wheel public transportation field.

Current trends suggest that the Kenyan public transport sector is likely to maintain its lead in EV adoption, while most developed countries are led by private vehicles in the transition.

This is likely to continue with increased production of start-ups focusing on the public transport sector and proposed tax incentives/exemptions and reliefs such as special electricity (charging) tariffs.

Some progress is being made in Kenya, with zero supply of electric buses and bicycles and exemption from excise duty on imported and locally assembled motorcycles under the current Finance Act (still on hold).

It is equally important to have the necessary legal and policy framework in place to encourage investment in the industry, he said moshe endrituChief Revenue Officer Basgois an EV startup and one of more than a dozen startups launched in the country’s EV space in the past five years.

“This will be a positive boost as the electric vehicle industry is gaining popularity in the country and in order to sustain this momentum, it needs to be supported from a legal perspective,” Nderitu said.

Electric buses and motorcycles

Brazilo It has been operating in Kenya for the past two years and has enabled bus operators to switch from internal combustion engines (ICE). The company already has 19 electric buses transporting passengers in Nairobi and plans to have 1,000 electric buses on Kenyan roads by 2025 after it started assembling the vehicles locally earlier this year. The company is using components from Chinese electric car maker BYD Auto.

Roam (formerly Opibus), another company that manufactures products for Kenya’s public transport industry, has ramped up production of local electric buses. The company is designing and developing the buses locally and plans to launch the first of the new locally manufactured electric buses in September, with mass production expected to start next year. Previously, the company planned to mass-produce electric buses and motorcycles in 2021.

roaming It has been involved in Kenya’s electric vehicle space since 2017, but the company has received significant venture capital backing before turning to manufacturing in 2021, specializing in the conversion of fossil fuel vehicles to electric vehicles.

Roam motorcycles are already on Kenyan roads, and the company recently opened an electric motorcycle manufacturing plant with a capacity of 50,000 units a year. Production is expected to reach 2,000 units by the end of this year.

Roam, like nearly 10 other startups targeting the electric motorcycle market, is capitalizing on Boda Boda Operators in Kenya and the greater East Africa region are keen to save on fuel costs. The company said it has ensured that its vehicles are priced almost in line with common combustion engine models. The company is also working with financing partners such as M-Kopa to encourage the use of its motorcycles as it eyes the wider East and West African market.

Roam says it has built hybrid solutions for its motorcycle customers. “That means they can actually charge the battery at home with a free portable charger, and they can also rent the battery. They take advantage of swapping and home charging,” said Roam chief product and strategy officer. albin wilson.

A battery swap station for EV startup Roam.

Electric vehicle startup Roam’s battery swap station in Nairobi. Image Source:roaming

Other startups in the two- and three-wheeler space include finish this, arc ride, Where, ampersand, this is ecologyand stimaborda.

The Kenya Electricity Corporation Electric Mobility Report 2023 estimates that there are more than 1,350 electric vehicles on Kenyan roads, 62% of which are motorcycles.this Report Said that the annual registration of motorcycles has doubled in the past five years to 252,601 and there are 1.2 million motorcycles in Kenya.

battery swap station

In addition to motorcycle sales, the startups have established battery exchange centers in their areas of operation, mainly in Nairobi, creating a sufficiently wide network of charging infrastructure boda bodas There is no need to worry about running out of power or not being able to find a nearby replacement station when operating.

Basi-Go and Roam have built charging stations for their businesses and will continue to expand their networks as more buses are added on different routes.

The companies are building charging stations in hopes of increasing EV adoption, especially after Kenyan diesel and petrol prices rose by nearly 100 percent over the past decade, and the government’s push for sustainable energy to push its climate change agenda. More than 90% of Kenya’s electricity is already generated through renewable energy sources such as geothermal, wind and solar.

Arc Ride, a startup in the two-wheeler space, recently introduced the Corbett motorcycle, a crossover vehicle for delivery and travel, to the Kenyan market. The company has also established an extensive network of battery exchange centers in Nairobi, now numbering 60.Co-founder and CEO of the company joe hester croft, told TechCrunch that their goal is to reach 100 by September and serve markets outside of Kenya. ArcRide buyers don’t own the battery, which Hurst-Croft said makes the motorcycle more expensive.

“Arc Ride plans to be the Battery-as-a-Service (BaaS) ecosystem of choice for other OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers). Next year we will open offices in two more countries and soon a partnership in West Africa. By developing standards, we can work with many companies to make BaaS a reality in fast-growing African cities,” said Hurst-Croft.

Ampersand has also signed an agreement with TotalEnergies, one of Kenya’s largest distributors of petroleum products, to build a network of battery swapping and charging stations starting in Nairobi.

State-run power company Kenya Power Building Charging System Suitable for public places such as businesses, homes and gas stations. The move aims to promote the popularity of electric vehicles in the local area.

“Public transport is an urgent need in Kenya, especially in our cities, and players in the electric vehicle industry can leverage this to reduce daily diesel emissions on the tailpipe,” Nderitu said.
“The private car industry also has an opportunity in EVs, and we see that through the acceptance of hybrid vehicles in Kenya, it’s just that the demand for EVs has been slower compared to the public transport sector.”