Why Electric E-Cab Firm NopeaRide Has Closed Shop


There aren’t many ride apps in Kenya. In fact, people tend to use the most popular one, including Uber, Bolt and Little. However, there are other players who have managed to stay under the shadow of the aforementioned apps, but have run their businesses locally anyway. One of them is NopeaRide, which has been offering its services using electric cars.

In a statement sent today, the company has said that it will cease operations in Kenya.

It arrived in Kenya back in 2018, and was launched by EkoRent Oy, a Finnish company founded in 2014. At launch, it started with a small minimum viable product in Nairobi with only 3 electric vehicles and 2 chargers. These vehicles were then increased in the following years.

During the end of 2019, NopeaRide announced it has received funding, which was then used to replenish its fleet and charging stations. However, business did not go as planned following the start of the pandemic in early 2022. Covid rules, for instance, are said to have seen a 60 percent drop in daily kilometers driven by Nopea vehicles.

Unfortunately, many of the additional vehicles arrived in Nairobi at just about the same time when the strict Covid-19 curfew rules were put in place in March 2020. Those rules lead to daily kilometers driven by Nopea vehicles dropping approximately 60% over night. The timing of these additional Nopea vehicles arriving in Kenya could not have been much worse – Nopea in a statement.

While these issues were in place, Nopea said improved its software and negotiated for additional equity investment. This was successful at the end of 2020.

As Covid-19 related curfew restrictions were lifted in steps and traffic in Nairobi was slowly beginning to normalize, we trusted that the year 2021 would be a better year for Nopea and Electric Mobility in Kenya – Nopea

Fast forward to 2022, and with more vehicles and charging stations under its management, Nopea revealed that it  had signed a cooperation agreement to build a Solar Charging Car Port for Nopea electric vehicles with an option for electric BodaBoda (eBoda) battery swap stations with a local university.

At the closing of the equity deal, Nopea estimated with it needed around 20 more electric cars to break even in the market. It had also planned to expand outside Nairobi. However, that number was not reached. Still, it planned to add these vehicles to its fleet, and piloting an eBoda service.  

READ MORE: State of Electric Vehicles in Kenya in 2022

Nonetheless, in the second half of this year, EkoRent OY went into insolvency in Finland and was unable to secure additional financing to grow the business in Nairobi to the next level.

This means that InfraCo Africa Limited, which is the minority shareholder, has also filed for the liquidation of EkoRent Africa Limited in the High Court of Kenya.

A mention date has been set for 13th December 2022.

Over the last five years, the firm imported 70 Nopea electric vehicles to Kenya that had driven more than 4M kilometres by June 2022 saving over 650 tons of CO2 emissions. 

It was also the only company to offer such a service.

We would like to extend our deepest regret to our dedicated team of staff and drivers. We would also like to thank our loyal NopeaRide customers, corporate clients and other partners who have supported NopeaRide’s vision for electric mobility in Africa – NopeaRide

However, more companies are attempting to enter the EV market with the likes of Roam and BasiGo planning to launch their fleet with leading Matatu Saccos in Nairobi.