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New age as electric taxis ready to charge

By Fredrick Obura | June 24th 2021

EkoRent Nopia Ride car, a fully electric taxi when it was launched in Nairobi on May 22, 2019.[David Njaaga,Standard]

Edgar Kipngetich, Country Manager Bolt Food, notes that the industry is rethinking its carbon footprint strategy and developing a long-term solution that stretches into partnerships with the electric car and motorcycle manufacturers to promote sustainable business.

In the second quarter of the year, the company says it will have between 40 and 80 motorbikes doing food deliveries in Nairobi.

“The future is electric cars and motorbikes. They are frontrunners into the new model and we have seen manufacturers converting the current motorbike engines into electric to fit into the war against emission,” notes Isaack Kalua, the Chairman of Motorbike Association of Kenya.

“Kenya is part of a global treaty aimed at reducing harmful gas emissions. Going forward, there is need to be aggressive in promoting adoption of clean transport.”

Bolt targets to introduce at least 200 electric bicycles and tuk-tuks on its platform by the end of the year on its platform.

Kenya becomes the first African market where the company has introduced electric bikes, electric tuk-tuks and e-bicycles.

“This is a great step towards realising environment-friendly ways for people to move around in the city, reduce our ecological footprint, decrease air pollution and increase access to clean transportation modes,” said Hillary Miller-Wise, Regional Director, Bolt Africa.

“We believe the future of urban transport is a network of on-demand services, which include electric vehicles, tuk-tuks, bikes, and other light vehicles.”

In an interview, Little Cab CEO Kamal Budhabati said his company believes in the long-term effect of fossil fuels and wants to contribute towards a cleaner future.

“With that in mind, we have started a discussion with several Electric Vehicle manufacturers in India and China to map out a long-term strategy,” he said.

“To start with, our potential market would be Kenya and Ethiopia. There are several models we are currently evaluating, including a pay per use model for our drivers.”

He noted that the company will start a pilot on food delivery with Java using 100 electric vehicles.

In an interview last month, Brian Chege, the General Manager of Meta Electric, a machinery dealership, noted that aside from helping fight climate change, the venture will also play a role in helping businesses save money by reducing their operating costs; petrol is expensive.

Mr Chege said there is a substantial interest from businesses to adopt electric vehicles, especially firms dealing with fast-moving consumer goods.

“If you can give a solution that is 80 per cent cheaper, and runs on clean energy and also helps sustain the environment. it is definitely a win-win for us,” he said.

The low maintenance and operating cost is the key selling point for electric automobiles, whether motorcycles or vehicles.

For example, Chege said for every 100km, an electric vehicle will cost Sh300 while one running on petrol or diesel will dent the pocket by Sh1,400.

Electric motorcycles cut the cost by 90 per cent compared to the conventional ones, according to Ecobodaa Chief Executive Victor Kimosop.

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