HomeBusinessBattery swapping spurs Kenya's electric motorbike drive

Battery swapping spurs Kenya’s electric motorbike drive

  • Electric motorcycle start-up expands to Kenya
  • Says battery replacement saves drivers time and money
  • Plan to deploy models in Tanzania and Uganda

NAIROBI (Reuters) – In recent months, rugged, brightly-branded battery-swapping stations have been set up around Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, where electric motorcyclists can fully recharge their low batteries. The battery can be replaced.

It’s a sign that the electric motorcycle revolution is beginning to unfold in Kenya, where internal combustion engine motorbikes are cheaper and quicker to travel than cars, but environmental experts say they cause 10 times more pollution. says.

Africa, East Africa’s largest economy, is betting on its status as a hub for electric motorcycles, renewable energy-intensive power supply, technology and start-ups to lead the region’s transition to zero-emission electric mobility. increase.

Battery exchange systems not only save time, they are essential for Kenya’s over one million motorcyclists, most of whom use commercial bikes. It also saves the buyer money as many sellers follow the model of retaining ownership of the bike’s most expensive battery. Department.

Steve Juma, co-founder of e-bike company EcoBoda, said, “It doesn’t make much financial or business sense for them to buy batteries… This almost doubles the cost of a bike.” to

Ecobodaa currently has 50 test electric bikes on the road and plans to sell 1,000 by the end of 2023, priced at around $1,500 each. That’s about the same price as a bike with an internal combustion engine since the battery is excluded from the cost.

My first electric bike was built tough enough to traverse rocky roads and cheaper than a gas-hungry bike.

“A normal bike uses about 700-800 Kenyan shillings ($5.70-$6.51) worth of fuel each day, but on this bike you get one battery for 300 shillings when you change batteries,” said the 28-year-old. Kevin Macaria said. A person who transports goods and passengers around Nairobi.

Expansion plan

Ecobodaa is just one of several Nairobi-based e-motorcycle startups working to prove themselves in Kenya before eventually venturing into East Africa.

Kenya’s stable electricity supply, which is about 95% renewable through hydropower and has an extensive network, has greatly supported the growth of the sector, said another Nairobi-based e-motorcycle start-up. ARC Ride founder Jo Hurst-Croft said.

The country’s utility company estimates it produces enough electricity to charge two million e-bikes a day. According to the World Bank, access to electricity in the country is over 75%, and even higher in Nairobi.

Uganda and Tanzania also have robust, renewable-rich grids that can support electric mobility, Hurst-Croft said.

“We have over 200 swapping stations in Nairobi and are expanding in Dar es Salaam and Kampala,” said Hurst-Croft.

($1 = 122.9000 Kenyan Shillings)

Reported by Ayenat Mersie. Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



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