For the average Nairobi City worker, the battle is always about convenience, cost-effectiveness and time when it comes to transport.
In recent months, the high cost of fuel has had Nairobians dig deeper into their pockets to fund their daily commutes to work.
Coupled with traffic jams, Nairobi can be frustrating when it comes to transport.
Geoffrey Omanje Sirumba (below), an e-mobility champion, saw the challenge and decided to venture into assembling of electric bikes locally. The battery-operated bikes are imported from China and then assembled in Nairobi.
“A litre of petrol now goes for Sh129. And you could spend it all in the traffic jam that cumulatively lasts about two hours,” he said.
“You can charge your bike like your mobile phones. To charge the bike takes 0.8 Kilowatt of electric energy. That is like Sh24.”
A single charge can take you up to 50 kilometres.
Once the bike is charged, the rider simply engages the throttle and they are good to go.
“You do not need to peddle, but there is an option of peddling if the power goes out,” says Sirumba.
The battery can be dismantled. One can have an extra battery (3kgs) that will assist in sustaining them on their journey.
The charger is three-pin, and can fit in th ordinary socket.
Geoffrey’s biggest client base is expatriates, some of who have worked outside Kenya. His biggest hindrance in market access is the perception by most Kenyans about riders.
“Kenyans associate riders with poverty and low life. That is why we may take time to crack it in the market, but a day at a time with the right information, we’ll get there,” he said.
“Also, there is a tonne of opportunities in the e-commerce sector in Kenya currently, where young people can use these bikes for deliveries.”
An entry-level unit costs Sh75,000 and the biggest luxury unit goes for Sh180,000.
Their biggest challenge currently is the high taxation when importing the complete bikes.
Though their entry-level is in e-bikes, Sirumba says his eyes are set on scaling his business to an assembly plant in future.