The Swedish-Kenyan technology firm Opibus has unveiled first electric bus in Kenya.
The bus has a superior performance compared to diesel bus and Kenyans will spend less on acquiring it than importing electric buses.
“The first electric bus is set to be launched commercially mid this year. Following this, the platform will be tested at scale in commercial deployment of 10 buses during the second half of 2022,” project coordinator – Public Transport, Dennis Wakaba said.
He said the step is a major step in the company’s vision to provide a locally designed and developed electric bus that can be mass-produced for the Pan-African market by the end of 2023.
The initial deployment of the buses will be in peri-urban areas around Nairobi.
This is also the companies first Africa-designed electric bus.
The firm said this enables the creation of a bus that is suitable for use in Africa in terms of reliability, durability and pricing
It is installed with a powerful motor to give it maximum torque, which improves performance while enabling the driver to accelerate more responsively.
This comes one week after the Kenyan goverenmnt lowered the cost of power consumption to protect households and businesses amidst ravaging economy due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Cost of electricity was brought down by 15 percent in order to ease inflationary pressures on citizens and stimulate the growth of indigenous manufacturing, President Uhuru Kenyatta said on December 13 last year.
With the cost of electricity being lower than diesel prices, the total operating expenses will be lowered by 50 percent and will revolutionise the public transport sector in Africa.
Several charging points will be installed with a mix of AC (slow) and DC (fast) chargers. Using the fast charger, the electric bus will be fully charged within an hour enabling seamless operations.
Kenya, however, is not the first East African nation to unveil an electric bus.
Uganda has been exercising domestic vehicle manufacturing and shipped in fully build of a 90-seater bus by Kiira Motors Corporation.
The buses, to run exclusively on electric batteries, can travel for 300km on a single charge at 80km/hour.
Three charging stations, which can recharge the electric batteries in under two hours, have completed calibration at Nakasongola.