Watu Credit Limited announced a partnership with Battery-as-a-Service provider ARC Ride. The partnership aims to set up over 300 battery swap stations in Nairobi by the end of 2024.
“As Watu, we strongly believe that EV is the future. In recognition of the fact that coming up with the next EV for the African market is an expensive venture, we started investing in ARC Ride to help them in their research and innovation and delivery of bikes responsive to the African market to the ground,” says Erick Massawe, Kenya Country Manager at Watu.
To take advantage of the ARC abilities, the partnership will see the manufacture of 1,000 electric vehicles (EVs).
Push for PSVs to Move to EVs
Watu Credit has been offering finance assistance to Kenyans seeking to purchase assets. The company is well known for facilitating the purchase of motorbike taxis (Boda-boda). The new venture to help in the setup of battery-swapping stations in Nairobi is a node to the growth of the e-mobility sector.
“For most of our riders who use their bikes for business, what they care about is being able to run a more efficient business by spending less on fuel and also having an EV that they can use without worrying that the battery will run dry in the middle of nowhere. We are helping ARC Ride set up more battery-swapping stations across Nairobi ” added Eric Massawe.
Currently, ARC Ride has put up 76 battery-swapping stations across Nairobi and its environs. The company is looking to get the number to 100 by the end of the year.
The 76 swap sites are located along Eastlands, Ngong Road, Githurai, Westlands, Kiambu Road, Kabete, Mombasa Road, and Thika Road. According, to the company, their battery swap stations serve at least 50 riders per day.
Customers can replace batteries with charges that start at Ksh 350 per day for unlimited number of swaps.
There is a push to have more and more boda-boda riders and public service vehicles make the switch to EVs. The Kenyan government has just signed a KES 8.7 billion deal with Millennium Change Corporation (MCC). The deal will see part of the funds go into the purchase of electric buses for the Nairobi Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system.
The development follows a EUR 347.6 million (approximately KES 50B) financing agreement between the Kenyan government and the European Commission. Announced in March, the funds are to be used for the construction of an exclusive lane for electric buses.
In March, a new E-mobility tariff was approved by the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA). The E-mobility tariff provides low-cost power for electric vehicle charging during night-time hours.