Ride-hailing firm Uber has launched an electric motorbike service in Kenya, its first in Africa. The new service, dubbed Electric Boda, will comprise 3,000 bikes within six months, or just under a fifth of Uber’s fleet in Kenya.
The launch of Electric Boda is part of Uber’s commitment to make its global platform emissions-free by 2040. The company believes that electric motorbikes are a key part of this transition, as they are more efficient and environmentally friendly than traditional motorbikes.
Drivers of Electric Boda will see a 30-35% drop in their operating costs, and users of the platform will pay 15-20% less than they do for a regular Uber motorbike trip. This is because electric motorbikes are cheaper to run and maintain than traditional motorbikes.
In addition to the environmental benefits, Electric Boda is also expected to provide a more comfortable ride for passengers. The bikes are equipped with noise-canceling features and have lower vibrations, making them a more pleasant experience for riders.
The launch of Electric Boda is a major step forward for Uber in its efforts to make its platform more sustainable. The company plans to roll out the service to other African countries later this year.
The bikes have swappable lithium-ion batteries, fancy new displays, retractable mounts for smartphones, and cable locks in the rear.
“The swappable battery is perhaps the most game-changing feature. Jump distinguishes itself from other bike-share services by operating a fleet of solely electric-powered “pedal assist” bikes,”Imran Manji, head of Uber East Africa told journalists.
The Growth of the Electric Vehicles Market in Africa
A lack of adequate electric charging infrastructure and associated equipment has slowed the growth of the electric vehicles market in Africa. However, there are a number of initiatives underway to address this issue. For instance, Stima Mobility, a Kenyan startup that provides green tech solutions for the moto-taxi sector, recently secured €100,000 in investment from DEG Impulse. DEG Impulse is a subsidiary of the German Development Bank DEG with funds from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
The Kenyan government has also been very vocal about going green promising to provide financial incentives to businesses that adopt electric vehicles. This is in order to make electric vehicles more affordable and accessible to businesses and consumers.
The Future of Electric Transport in Africa
The growth of the electric vehicles market in Africa is still in its early stages, but it has the potential to transform the way people and goods move around the continent. Electric vehicles are more efficient and environmentally friendly than traditional vehicles, and they can help reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
The development of electric charging infrastructure is key to the growth of the electric vehicles market in Africa. As more charging stations become available, more people can adopt electric vehicles. This will help to create a cleaner and more sustainable future for Africa.