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Kenya's electric vehicle market is gaining momentum

In March, start-up BasiGo became the first company to launch an electric bus in Kenya. The buses are assembled locally using components designed by Chinese automaker BYD, and can travel 250 kilometers on a single charge.


 


The Swedish-Kenyan joint venture Roam Motors (formerly Opibus) is also expanding its operations and sales as the Kenyan government pushes to promote electric vehicles. Whether it is with BYD or RoamMotors, local companies have begun to work with international partners to explore opportunities in the automotive market.



Kenya's electric vehicle market potential

Considering the impact of the extraction and processing of lithium, nickel, cobalt and other essential metals, the production of electric vehicles is not completely free of environmental impacts, but Kenya is a very suitable country for developing a green electric vehicle market in terms of electric vehicles on the road. In 2020, about 90% of Kenya's electricity will come from renewable energy sources such as hydropower, geothermal, solar photovoltaic and wind energy, and it plans to fully use clean energy for power supply by 2030.

 

Geothermal, with its low cost and low emissions, accounts for more than 40% of Kenya's national electricity generation. By 2020, Kenya has become the largest geothermal power generator in Africa, generating about 672 MW.

Kenya has enough capacity to meet the growth in electricity consumption brought about by the development of electric vehicles.

 

During off-peak hours, the Kenya Power Company has the capacity to provide charging services for 50,000 buses and 2 million motorcycles. The company estimates that it will cost 2,400 Kenyan shillings (about $21) to recharge an electric minibus that consumes 120 degrees of power for 200 kilometers a day.

 

As of September 2021, the electricity price in Kenya is about $0.21/kWh. In contrast, the price of electricity for ordinary residents in Rwanda, another East African country that also encourages the development of electric vehicles, is US$0.25/kWh.

 

South Africa is currently Africa's largest electric vehicle market, with 12 million vehicles in stock this year, of which about 1,000 are electric vehicles. Of the 2.2 million vehicles registered in Kenya, about 350 are electric.



Policy direction

Since 2020, the Kenyan government has introduced a series of policies aimed at encouraging the use and production of electric vehicles. In September of the same year, the Kenyan government issued the "Kenya National Energy Efficiency and Energy Conservation Strategy", which for the first time proposed the goal of making electric vehicles the mainstream of Kenya's motor vehicles. The Kenyan Ministry of Transport then issued a tender in November 2021 looking for a consultant to develop a national e-mobility policy, partly funded by the World Bank and the Kenyan government.

 

Kenya is the perfect country to show how electric vehicles can really deliver climate benefits.




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