Electric motorcycle riders in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, now have the ability to trade their dead battery for a fully charged one at a series of battery swapping stations that have sprung up in the city over the past few months. These stations are well-built and have eye-catching branding.
It is a sign that an electric motorcycle revolution is starting to unfold in Kenya, where combustion-engine motorbikes are a cheaper and quicker way to get around than cars, but environmental experts say that they are 10 times more polluting. An electric motorcycle revolution is starting to unfold in Kenya.
The country with the largest economy in East Africa is placing its bets on electric-powered motorcycles, a power supply that relies heavily on renewable energy sources, and its position as a technology and start-up hub in order to spearhead the transition to zero-emission electric mobility in the region.
Not only does the battery swapping system save time, which is essential for Kenya's more than one million motorcyclists, the majority of whom use the bikes for commercial purposes, but it also saves buyers money. This is because many sellers follow a model in which they retain ownership of the battery, which is the most expensive part of the bike.
According to Steve Juma, co-founder of the electric bike startup Ecobodaa, "it doesn't make a lot of economic and business sense for them to purchase a battery...which would virtually treble the cost of the bike."
Ecobodaa now has 50 test electric motorcycles on the road and wants to have 1,000 by the end of 2023. The company sells these motorcyles for approximately $1,500 each, which is nearly the same price as combustion-engine bikes because the battery is not included in the pricing.