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    HomeEcosystem NewsEASTERN AFRICANew $1.9M Investment Powers New EV Charging Stations Across Kenya

    New $1.9M Investment Powers New EV Charging Stations Across Kenya

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    Kenya Power, the leading electricity provider in Kenya, has unveiled plans to invest a substantial sum of up to KShs. 258 million ($1.9 million USD) over the span of three years to bolster the adoption of electric vehicles (EV) throughout the country. This investment initiative aims to establish charging infrastructure at strategic locations nationwide and acquire electric vehicles and motorcycles to support the company’s operations.

    The endeavor commenced with the inauguration of an EV charging station at Stima Plaza in Nairobi, representing an initial investment of KShs. 6.5 million ($47,825 USD). This station, equipped with two chargers — a 50 kW DC charger with a one-hour charging time and a 22 kW AC charger with a two-hour charging time, signifies Kenya Power’s commitment to EV infrastructure expansion. Notably, this marks the company’s second foray into EV infrastructure ownership, following a similar station at the Ruaraka Depot.

    In addition to the Stima Plaza station, Kenya Power has outlined plans to deploy nine more charging stations across various company offices by July 2024. These stations will be strategically located in Donholm, Nakuru, Mombasa, Mtito Andei, Kisumu, Eldoret, Roysambu, Electricity House Nairobi, and Ragati. Dr. Siror, Kenya Power’s Managing Director & CEO, disclosed that an annual budget of KShs. 20 million ($147,000 USD) has been allocated for the establishment of EV charging infrastructure at all company premises nationwide, with further expansion anticipated in the coming years.

    Alongside the deployment of charging stations, Kenya Power has introduced two heavy-duty electric vehicles for routine operations, acquired at a cost of KShs. 18 million ($132,000 USD). The company aims to augment its electric vehicle fleet by procuring an additional nine electric vehicles, comprising heavy and light-duty models, as well as 25 electric motorcycles by the end of December 2024.

    This latest initiative builds upon Kenya Power’s prior endeavors to promote E-mobility. In 2021, the company conducted a successful pilot program involving 13 electric motorcycles in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Additionally, Kenya Power previously experimented with electric-powered forklifts and pallet stackers at its warehouses from 2016 to 2018.

    To incentivize the adoption of electric vehicles, motorcycles, and bicycles, Kenya Power is implementing an E-mobility tariff approved by the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority during a recent electricity tariff review. Furthermore, the company hosts an annual E-mobility Conference, providing a platform for industry stakeholders to collaborate on growth strategies.

    Kenya Power and Lighting Company Plc (Kenya Power) serves as the primary electricity off-taker in Kenya, responsible for transmitting, distributing, and retailing power nationwide. Since its establishment in 1922, the company has expanded its transmission and distribution network to cover over 306,000 kilometers, providing electricity access to over 76% of the country’s population as of December 2023. Kenya Power’s vision is centered on becoming the preferred energy solutions provider in Kenya, delivering sustainable and reliable service to power socio-economic development through innovation and technology.

    Kenya’s public transit sector is emerging as a key driver of the country’s electric vehicle adoption amidst global calls for sustainable transport solutions. Commercial electric mass transport buses were introduced to various routes across Nairobi for the first time last year, marking a significant shift from fossil fuel vehicles by some public bus operators. This transition follows the earlier integration of electric motorcycle taxis, locally known as bodaboda, into the popular two-wheel public transport segment.

    The current trajectory suggests that Kenya’s public transit sector will continue to lead in EV adoption, in contrast to many developed countries where private vehicles spearhead the transition. This trend is likely to persist with the increased production by startups targeting the public transit sector, coupled with proposed tax incentives and exemptions, such as special power (charging) tariffs.

    Kenya has taken significant steps, including zero-rating the supply of electric buses and bicycles and exempting imported and locally assembled motorcycles from excise duty in the current finance act.

    “The future of transport in electric and as a Company, we are very excited to be leading the conversations around E-mobility. Alongside our need to charge our electric vehicles, we intend to use our EV charging stations to collect data that will inform the next steps of our support to the growing E-mobility industry,” said Kenya Power’s Managing Director & CEO, Dr. (Eng.) Joseph Siror

    Startups are also increasingly contributing to the EV ecosystem in Kenya. BasiGo, operational for the last two years, facilitates the transition of bus operators from internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles to EVs. The company currently operates 19 EV buses in Nairobi and aims to have 1,000 vehicles on Kenyan roads by 2025, having recently begun local assembly of vehicles using parts from China’s EV maker BYD Automotive.

    Another notable player, Roam (previously Opibus), is ramping up local production of EV buses for the mass transit sector in Kenya. The company is designing and developing buses locally and anticipates mass production to commence next year following the launch of its first locally built EV bus in September.

    Roam, which transitioned to manufacturing in 2021 after significant venture capital backing, has already established a presence in Kenya’s electric mobility space since 2017. The company has diversified its offerings to include electric motorcycles and recently inaugurated an electric motorcycle manufacturing facility with a production capacity of 50,000 units per year.

    Other startups in the two-and-three-wheeler space, such as Kiri EV, Arc Ride, Ebee, Ampersand, Ecobodaa, and Stimaboda, are also contributing to the growing EV market in Kenya.

    A 2023 e-mobility report by Kenya Power estimates that there are over 1,350 electric-powered vehicles on Kenyan roads, with motorcycles constituting 62% of this figure. The report indicates a doubling of annual motorcycle registrations over the past five years, reaching 252,601 registrations, with an estimated 1.2 million motorcycles currently in Kenya.

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