Demand for electric vehicles grows as more charging hubs open

Plug-in electric vehicle charging station in Germany. [iStockphoto]

The country’s push for electric vehicles has received a significant boost with the establishment of a solar and electric vehicle charging hub in Naivasha.

According to Vehicle and Equipment Leasing Limited (VAELL), plans are in the works to build more charging stations in major cities across the country. Since the introduction of electric vehicles, the issue of charging hubs has remained the main barrier, keeping many interested parties at bay.

This comes on the heels of the government and investors announcing plans to introduce electric bus units for Nairobi’s BRT system.

VAELL Head of Finance Catherine Mutua stated that the company plans to invest Sh2 billion in the coming years to increase EV adoption. She said the company had already invested Sh100 million in the importation of environmentally friendly automobiles, with some already arriving in the country.

“We expect to have about 2,000 units of electric and solar-powered automobiles here for the Kenyan market in the next 36 months,” she said.

Charging stations

Mutua went on to say that the leasing company had already installed solar and electric vehicle charging stations in various locations, including a new charging station at the Buffalo Mall in Naivasha.

She acknowledged that the lack of charging stations across the country was still a problem for many customers, but she was optimistic that this would be addressed in the coming months.

“With major online cab hailing brands in the country gearing towards EVs, Kenya is set to become the region’s hub for electric vehicle solutions and assembly,” she said.

She said EVs were much cheaper to run on fuel alone, speaking in Naivasha over the weekend after receiving a batch of electric and solar automobiles.

“As the world grapples with climate change, carbon emissions, low-level motorization, and increased congestion,” she said.

“Kenya is poised to shift the paradigm with electric vehicles.” At the same time, she challenged the government to assess the incentives provided to encourage the use of EVs in reducing pollution and combating climate change.

Price gaps

“We are advocating for a complete tax exemption for electric vehicles in order to close the price gap with conventional vehicles,” she said.

Tom Morton, one of the electric vehicle’s beneficiaries, stated that car maintenance was less expensive and that he charged the car at home.

“While charging with electricity is slower at home, it is less expensive than charging with fuel, whose prices are rising by the day,” he explained.  

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