Roam Taps Hitachi Europe’s Expertise to Expand Electric Motoring in Kenya

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Electric vehicle designer and developer, Roam, previously known as OpiBus, has announced it will collaborate closely with Hitachi Europe Ltd., a technology company focused on sustainable mobility, to increase access to electric transportation in Africa, with a particular focus on Kenya.

This partnership aims to boost the number of electric motorcycles and buses in the country. The development started following The Earthshot Prize, a global environmental award that aims to find and accelerate innovative solutions to restore and regenerate the planet, founded by Prince William and The Royal Foundation in 2020.

Roam was a finalist in the “clean our air” category in the 2022 edition of the awards. Hitachi is a Global Alliance Member and supports this prize.

Roam’s goal is to increase the accessibility of electric transportation to a wider audience by streamlining deployment and making the technology more cost-effective. The company develops all-electric conversion kits for various types of fleet vehicles, including light trucks, public transport, and buses. Additionally, Roam is working on creating electric motorcycles and energy systems.

Its primary rival, BasiGo, offers electric buses that are charged overnight using renewable energy sources available in East Africa, which helps to minimize air pollution and decrease carbon emissions. BasiGo has created a distinct financing option called “Pay-As-You-Drive,” making their K6 Electric bus an affordable option for all owners who want to switch to a cleaner, electric mode of transportation.

Both companies have been eyeing the Nairobi Matatu Sacco Community. BasiGo has since partnered with a number of Saccos in the city including Super Metro and Citi Hoppa. It has more than 15 buses plying different routes within the metropolitan.

Roam, which also sells electric bikes (Roam Air), has the biggest buses (called Roam Rapid) around with a capacity of up to 90 passengers. It currently works with Saccos such as Metro Trains.

Early this month, Kenya Power reported it has plans to create a consultative framework to guide the implementation of electric motorization in Kenya. It also seeks to bring together different policies being developed by various stakeholders to ensure comprehensive coverage of the e-mobility value chain.

Quotes

“Transport accounts for around one-fifth of global emissions, which is why at Hitachi, we are working hard to develop solutions to decarbonize the sector from road to rail”, said Chris Saul, Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer, Hitachi Europe Ltd, and Earthshot Prize Finalist Advisor for Roam.

“Roam shares our vision of achieving a net-zero society and we are delighted to be providing support to help make electric vehicles more accessible and cost-efficient in Africa.” Albin Wilson, Chief Strategy and Product Officer at Roam said: “We are pleased to have a strong partner in Hitachi. We are innovating clean energy technologies to support our customers by purposefully collaborating with industry pioneers who share our mission to transform the way we move around our world.

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Kenn Abuya is a friend of technology, with bias in enterprise and mobile tech. Share your thoughts, tips and hate mail at [email protected]