Kenya's drive towards green transportation by electrifying the 'boda-boda' motorbike taxis

Kenya's drive towards green transportation by electrifying the 'boda-boda' motorbike taxis

In Nairobi, Moses Lugalia, a 27-year-old boda-boda rider, embraces Kenya's electric vehicle revolution to cut costs amid rising fuel prices. With the government's "e-mobility" initiative, the focus is on transforming motorbike taxis to green alternatives. Lugalia's shift to an electric bike brings significant savings, inspiring the government's goal of deploying over 200,000 electric bikes by 2024. Startups leverage renewable energy, offering affordable loans and establishing charging stations. The move aims to combat air pollution and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Nairobi, one of the world's most congested cities. Companies like Roam, Spiro, and Arc-Ride plan to replace traditional boda-bodas, envisioning a future where electric motorcycles dominate Kenyan streets.

Original article written by: Paa Kwesi Asare

Moses Lugalia, a 27-year-old motorbike taxi rider in Nairobi, Kenya, has embraced the country's electric vehicle movement, transitioning from a petrol motorbike to an electric one. The primary motivation for Lugalia was the potential cost savings amid rising fuel prices. Operating as a "boda-boda" rider, a common form of affordable transportation in Kenya, he used to spend over $6 a day on petrol. Since switching to an electric bike, his daily expenses have dramatically decreased to no more than $1.42, significantly boosting his profits.

Kenya's government actively promoted green transport, initiating a national "e-mobility" program in September 2023. Motorbikes, particularly those used for taxi services, are the focus of this initiative to reduce air pollution and encourage a shift toward electric vehicles. The government aims to have over 200,000 electric bikes on the road by the end of 2024, envisioning a future where traditional petrol-driven boda-bodas are phased out. Despite the progress in Nairobi, challenges such as limited infrastructure beyond the city and concerns about the cost and range of electric bikes persist among drivers.

Several Kenyan startups have emerged in response to the growing demand for electric motorcycles. These companies are not only manufacturing and selling electric bikes but also collaborating with creditors to provide affordable financing options for boda-boda drivers. While some challenges remain, such as the need for more extensive charging infrastructure, the government expresses confidence that success in Nairobi will attract investors to expand the electric vehicle ecosystem nationwide. Companies like Roam, Spiro, and Arc-Ride have announced ambitious plans, contributing to the country's goal of achieving a substantial presence of electric vehicles on its roads. With these startups making big plans, it looks like Kenya is well on its way to having a bunch of electric vehicles cruising its roads, making the whole transportation scene more eco-friendly.