Kenya Power steps up roll-out of electric car plans with tender

Kenya is among the countries keen to transition to electric cars from conventional fossil fuel-powered vehicles. [iStockphoto]

Kenya Power is now shopping around for a contractor to build and run a system for electric cars, setting the stage for the launch of the new mode of transport.

The power distributor has advertised for expression of interest from e-mobility (electric vehicles) technology partners to design a charging infrastructure, billing and payment system and service management.

“The e-mobility technology partner must provide adequate information regarding their company, profile, personnel, qualification and competence to undertake the e-mobility proof concept and specific experience in performing similar assignments elsewhere,” said Kenya Power in a press advertisement.

Under the phase of the proof of concept, the contractor will run a pilot in Nairobi and Nakuru for six months.

This will be followed by the implementation phase, where the e-mobility network infrastructure system will be scaled up to the rest of the country and will go on for between 18 and 24 months.

As part of the movement toward cleaner energy, Kenya is among the countries keen to transition to electric cars from conventional fossil fuel-powered vehicles.

The power distributor said currently mobility, comprising road, aviation, rail, maritime and other forms of transport account for 19 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions and two per cent of nitrogen emissions.

“In order to reach net-zero emissions, it will require a complete transformation of the current transport sectors globally and transitioning towards e-mobility (electric vehicles) is now a matter of necessity worldwide,” said Kenya Power.

Already, the Government has expressed interest in developing a policy that will guide in licensing of electric vehicles and picking tariffs for recharging the cars. 

The policy will also be used to decide modalities of setting up recharging infrastructure in busy public spaces, government installations and privately owned investments such as malls to serve public transport and personal vehicles.

The State Department for Transport in December last year started the search for a consultant to develop the policy to leapfrog uptake barriers such as high purchase cost, limited driving range, inconvenience of recharging and limited model choices.

The winning contractor will have to show that they have experience in designing, developing and supporting such systems and should have completed at least two similar projects.

They should also provide their audited financial accounts for the last three years, showing turnover, profit and the company’s capital.

With an installed capacity of 2,991 megawatts (MW) and an off-peak load of 1,200MW, Kenya Power has in the past insisted that it can supply the electricity needed to charge electric vehicles and motorcycles during off-peak hours.

There are already firms importing used electric vehicles, with some importing and assembling components and others retrofitting old ones. Some rely on leasing and battery swapping models.

The Kenya National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy developed last year set a target of the share of electric vehicles imported annually to reach five per cent by 2025.

It proposed measures such as lowering import duty for electric vehicles, revision of the building code to incorporate charging stations in public buildings and estates, and introducing tax on cars that burn carbon-based fuels.