Complaints over high cost, charging of electric vehicles

An electric Vehicle rechargeable point on display at REFA Renewable Energy Forum Africa at Nairobi Sarit Centre on Thursday, April 4, 2023. [Samson Wire. Standard].

High prices and maintenance costs are the biggest hindrance to the country's transition from fuel to electric-powered vehicles, say transport stakeholders.

Boda boda, tuktuk, and matatu operators told the E-mobility Task Force in Mombasa that they were concerned about the limited number of charging centres and the high prices for charging the batteries.

Ali Mbarak, chairman of the Coast Matatu Operators Association (MOA), emphasised the need for freedom to choose whether to adopt E-mobility or remain with diesel or petrol vehicles.

“It is good to embrace E-mobility, but let matatu owners decide whether they want to go that route or remain in the fuel era. We need to consider maintenance costs and grill the whole process before making a decision,” said Mbarak.

Benson Njoroge, chair of the Tuktuk Operators Sacco, pointed out that the purchase price for E-mobility tuktuks is almost double that of diesel ones. He also expressed concerns about the stability of electricity supply due to frequent blackouts in the country.

“We are happy to be involved as the largest industry. We have more than 20,000 tuktuks operating within Mombasa. We need clarity on the transition period because the prices are almost double. We are concerned about the stability of electricity because there are frequent blackouts in Mombasa. We don't want people to stay at home because they cannot charge their batteries,” said Njoroge.

He suggested having a representative from the bodaboda, tuktuk, and matatu sectors on the task force to ensure their views are heard.

“We want the government to reduce the prices of electronic bodabodas to make them more affordable to purchase and maintain,” added Amos Kimei, a bodaboda operator.

Kimei highlighted that the current prices are high, and the cost of charging has been increased, with credit facilities taking advantage of them.

However, Mathew Omondi, national treasurer of the Tuktuk Association, said that tuktuks can be retrofitted without disposing of the old ones.

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