Rise of electric vehicles in Kenya [Video]

With many advances in the transport sector, Opibus, a Swedish- Kenyan firm is creating and assembling powered electric vehicles and motorcycles units locally tailored for the African continent leading to the transition to sustainable transport.

Kenya is now taking the road to e mobility as a way to decarbonize transport. Since 2017 Opibus has been in the business of future-proofing existing gasoline and diesel vehicles by converting them to electric.

Globally there is a shift towards green energy, the automotive industry has been able to provide about 100, thousand direct and indirect jobs to Kenyans by creating about 30,000 vehicles in one shift and providing 30 billion per annum through taxation.

Despite this, the biggest challenge the sector faces is the shift from internal combustion engines which is the infrastructure installed by the local industry. Opibus company says it is on the move to solve the challenge of transport emissions.

Statistics show that Boda Boda is the largest growing sector supporting about 5.2 million Kenyans with over 1.5 million registered Boda Boda riders. Each year, about 200 thousand Boda Boda stop working because of age, breakdown and life cycle risk. Motorcycles have also been blamed for air pollution and noise pollution which is hazardous to the environment. Opibus is now shifting to electric bikes in Kenya which will reduce costs, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

The e-bike has a battery lifespan of 1000 life cycles that can go to a maximum of 100 km per hour on a single charge and on harsh terrains 70 km per hour. It is also equipped with a portable charger that serves a battery for a period of 2hrs.

Opibus also has a swapping station for the tailored batteries creating efficiency for riders. Buyers have, however, complained of the high cost of the purchase of electric batteries and insufficient charging infrastructure. Opibus plans to partner with Kenya Power to introduce charging stations that will be utilized in public points, as well as more technological advances with the e-bikes charging system.

One unique thing about Opibus is that besides offering insurance of two years, 35 percent of its vehicles and bikes components are designed and built locally and hence supporting local entrepreneurs, the output can also be tailored for local markets need.

Opibus plans to expand its business including delivering its first electric vehicle to the Kenyan market by the first quarter of 2022. The company has received support from investors and now promises Kenyans to brace for more renewable solutions in the transport sector with hope of support from the government of Kenya.

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