Kenya Power sets eyes on electric fleet but fuel hangover lingers

An electric vehicle charging at a station in Nairobi. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

Kenya Power has started transitioning its fleet from petrol and diesel powered vehicles to electric.

The firm is looking for suppliers of electric vehicles and motorcycles with the intention of buying 25 e-motorcycles, three electric double cabin pickups and four light utility vehicles.

The transition, however, could be slow as, through a separate process, the company is also seeking suppliers for 200 petrol-powered motorcycles as it seeks to overhaul its current fleet.

The motorbikes are used by its staff for tasks such as meter reading and responding to customer queries. The firm had earlier said it plans to have a fully electric fleet by 2027.

In a tender document, the company said the acquisition of the EVs is a move to popularise the vehicles in the Kenyan market in a bid to increase uptake but also expects to reduce costs by reducing fuel purchases.

“Kenya Power being the main distributor of electricity in Kenya wishes to promote the use of electric vehicles and cycles," said the company in the tender document.

"It is expected that this will increase electricity sales for the company and reduce fleet operational costs, specifically expenses associated with the use of fossil fuels.”

Kenya Power anticipates that the increased use of EVs in the Kenyan market would result in higher electricity consumption and in turn higher revenues.

The firm has recently unveiled an e-mobility tariff, where charging stations pay preferential rates when charging vehicles at night.

While looking to rid its fleet of vehicles that use diesel and petrol, the transition process could be rather slow and take years as in addition to the 25 e-motorcycles, Kenya Power is also looking for a firm that will supply it with 200 conventional motorcycles.

In a separate tender document, the company said it routinely “carries out continuous fleet renewal to ensure high levels of fleet availability and reliability in addition to maintaining an optimal level of fleet running costs”. 

“To this end the company seeks to procure 200 motorcycles.”

Kenya Power last year announced plans to change its fleet from the petrol and diesel powered vehicles to EVs as well as the setting up of electric vehicle charging stations. At the time it had procured three EVs as a pilot.

The firm said it would spend an initial Sh40 million to purchase electric-powered vehicles as it moves to phase out the internal combustion engine vehicles from its fleet.

Part of the money will be invested in constructing electric vehicle-charging stations within Nairobi.

Kenya Power has already advertised for expression of interest from e-mobility technology partners to design a charging infrastructure, billing and payment system and service management.

“We intend to gradually phase out fossil fuel-powered vehicles numbering approximately 2,000 from our fleet within the next four years. This will entail the purchase of new electric vehicles and motorbikes,” said Kenya Power, adding that it expected to have transitioned its fleet to being fully electric by 2027.

Kenya Electricity Generation Company (KenGen) has also said it plans to transition its fleet to EVs.

The power producer has in the recent past said it plans to set up more than 30 electric vehicle charging stations across major towns in the course of this year.

It has been exploring the possibility of a partnership with State-owned National Oil Corporation to set up EV charging stations at some of the oil marketer’s outlets.

KenGen last year acquired four EVs that it has also been using to pilot that would inform its transition while also providing insights on initial technology choices for electric charging infrastructure it would rollout.

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