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KEBS to set rules on electric cars

By Patrick Alushula | July 20th 2017
By Patrick Alushula | July 20th 2017
An electric car recharges. Kenya is keen to ease importation of such environment-friendly vehicles. [Courtesy]

Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) is set to develop guidelines for electric and hybrid vehicles as more Kenyans show interest in environment-conscious cars.

The Transport ministry has tasked Kebs to develop standards that will make it easier for importation of the vehicles, which are in line with global calls to protect the environment.

According to Martin Eshiwani, the head of road transport service unit in the ministry, the move will help reduce dangerous emissions.

“We have now embarked on the process of developing standards for electric motor vehicles and electric motor cycles to reduce emissions, which is a major challenge now,” he said.

Kenya, he added, is experiencing increased cases of respiratory diseases attributed to vehicle exhaust emissions, which contain dangerous pollutants such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter.

The Economic Survey 2017 shows that last year, 19.9 million cases of respiratory diseases were reported in health facilities, a 63 per cent increase from 12.2 million cases in 2012.

Kenya has about 2.5 million vehicles and the Government is keen to switch to safer cars, with the World Health Organisation estimating that particulate matter, found in diesel, causes a quarter of all lung cancer deaths worldwide,

Electric vehicles use energy stored in rechargeable batteries, usually recharged by common household electricity, while hybrid vehicles rely on both petroleum and the batteries.

Developing the standards for such vehicles, Mr Eshiwani told The Standard, is a process whose aim is to eliminate the importation challenges that those interested in such vehicles are currently facing.

“We have already communicated to Kebs so that they begin the process. We have a few vehicles in the country that are electric but the owners faced challenges at importation level,” he said.

The ministry targets to develop the standards by June next year through engagement and benchmarking with other countries that already have the guidelines.

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