The state of electric vehicles in Kenya is interesting. The country has hundreds of electric vehicles plying local roads (more than 1000), and adding to the fact that this is where the entire industry is transitioning to – including the likes of the UK that want to get rid of gas-powered vehicles by 2030 for sustainability reasons, it would make sense why Kenya is choosing a similar path, although that will take an extended period to effect on account that market leaders have been doing this longer than us.
One of the key players in the electric vehicles market is Kenya Power and Lighting Company. The power distributor has in the past expressed interest in the electric cars space when it announced plans to phase out gas-powered vehicles from its fleet for electric replacements.
KPLC added it had invested KES 40 million to purchase three electric vehicles: two pick-ups and one four-wheel drive, but on a test basis. The funds were said to go into the construction of charging stations in Nairobi for KPLC use and public demonstration.
Kenya Power has since finished the pilot test of 13 electric bikes alongside the UNEP, which are now being used by meter readers and revenue collection staff.
The latest development is that the power distributor is planning to round up more than 300 participants drawn from the energy, finance, and transport sectors, as well as county governments, development partners, and the private sector to attend the E-mobility Conference that is scheduled to take place in Nairobi on the 7th and 8th of February 2023.
The conference is a collaboration between Kenya Power and the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) aimed at creating a consultative framework to guide the implementation of electric motorization in Kenya. The conference will also aim to bring together different policies being developed by various stakeholders to ensure comprehensive coverage of the e-mobility value chain.
Attendees of the conference will be informed about the current state of charging infrastructure, technology, and related services in Kenya and other regions. They will also discuss ways to enhance the existing charging infrastructure, examine policies and regulations that support the growth of the charging system, and compare it to the e-mobility efforts of leading countries both regionally and globally.
It is estimated that there are 3.1 million electric passenger vehicles in use worldwide, with China having the largest number at 1.48 million. In the near future, the demand for these vehicles is expected to grow rapidly as car manufacturers introduce more electric vehicles.
Companies such as ROAM have since launched their electric vehicles here, including bikes and mass-transit buses such as the ROAM Rapid that rides along Thika Road.
BasiGo, which offers its electric vehicle technology on a Pay-As-You-Drive financing solution, has also promised to bring more than 15 electric buses for Matatu services in Nairobi.
Humming Bird, a local electric vehicle company, also offers electric vehicle transportation for the hospitality industry, having started operations with Trademark Hotel.
There was also a launch of four electric vehicles by energy producer, Kenya Electricity Generating Company PLC (KenGen) back in November 2022.
“We are looking forward to meeting and sharing knowledge and experiences on e-mobility with the various stakeholders in this industry. The conference will offer an opportunity to map out the entire emobility value chain to drive investments and attract the participation of potential stakeholders to increase the uptake of electric vehicles,” said Kenya Power’s Ag. Managing Director Eng. Geoffrey Muli.
He added, “as a Company that is providing a critical service to drive the social economic growth of the nation, we are at the center of electric motorization and therefore we are well positioned to ensure that we provide adequate and reliable electricity supply to spur the growth of this nascent industry.”