Electric mobility and green energy have gained momentum as Go Electric Limited, an electric and solar vehicle dealer that provides mobility solutions to African Markets initiates the process of installing more electric charging stations and points in various major urban centers in the region. This is after successfully installing such facilities in various towns such as Nairobi, Naivasha, Kampala Uganda, Kigali Rwanda among others. The move is one of the strategies the firm is utilizing to encourage the uptake of electric and solar vehicles (EVs) which have had slow uptake due to the scarcity of a reliable charging stations network in the region. With increased charging networks across the country and the region at large, many auto enthusiasts will adopt these eco-friendly vehicles. The firm is set to set up various charging stations in major towns such as Konza, Tatu City, Kisumu, Mombasa, Nanyuki, Namanga, Busia, and Garissa to support citizens across the country.
“We are committed to seeing that all 47 counties in the country have reliable and convenient EV charging stations and points that are fully operational 24/7 whether there is electric power or not. We have invested at least Kes. 2 billion in this project to see Kenya and the East African region going electric and green,” said Ms. Eve Maina, Managing Director at Go Electric.
Experts have described this investment as a major reprieve to the EVs enthusiasts, which is likely to upsurge the number of electric vehicles in the country and the region. Statistics indicate that EV sales are increasing slowly, but surely. Electric car sales in the first three months of 2023 have shown strong signs of growth compared to the same period in 2022. The new edition of the IEA’s annual Global Electric Vehicle Outlook shows that more than 10 million electric cars were sold worldwide in 2022 and that sales are expected to grow by another 35% this year to reach 14 million. This explosive growth means electric cars’ share of the overall car market has risen from around 4% in 2020 to 14% in 2022 and is set to increase further to 18% this year, based on the latest IEA projections. In Kenya currently, there is an estimated 671 electric motor vehicles in total and the number is expected to grow.
“It is worth noting that these charging stations are capable of charging any EV and they charge very fast. You can actually have a full charge in just 30 min. The fragmented charging system in the region is a major frustration for electric vehicle owners, who often find that they must download apps and enter personal details and payment information before they can charge. Our network of fast chargers has been a key element in our success by giving drivers confidence that they will be able to charge cars during longer trips,” she added.
Most owners of electric cars charge their vehicles at home using a dedicated 220-volt connection that can typically fill up a car battery in about eight hours, but that is often not an option for people who rent homes or apartments. Charging electric cars using a standard 110-volt outlet can take up to 60 hours.
Commenting on these stations Stephen Kiptarus, an EV owner “This is very good for the EV industry and a recommendable move in the fight for environmental protection and a fight for food security.”
Running and maintaining EVs is cheaper compared to fossil fuel-powered vehicles since they conserve the environment and reduce costs incurred on maintenance and fuel. This has seen drivers save at least Kes. 500 daily on fuel and Kes. 300 on maintenance. Drivers who have adopted EVs spend only Kes. 450 for 300 Km journey by going electric instead of Kes. 2,600 currently with a vehicle consuming 1 liter for every 18 Km.
This is also a boost to environmental conservation owing to the fact that EVs do not consume gasoline and have minimal emissions of carbon as opposed to fossil fuels. Research by the European Energy Agency found that, even with electricity generation, the carbon emissions of an electric car are around 17 – 30% lower than driving a petrol or diesel car. The emissions from electricity generation are also dramatically improved when low-carbon electricity is used.
According to the information sent to the newsroom, the Electric and solar auto dealer has inked various strategic partnerships with various dealers across the world in their pursuit of supporting e-mobility in Africa. In the said partnerships, the dealer sought to ensure the delivery of electric vehicles that are pocket friendly and are customized for the terrain in Africa. These EVs dubbed UTU can navigate in given any given road in Kenya with ease without the fear of the rough and bumpy roads that are a common characteristic in Africa.
The high cost of doing business in Kenya can be attributed to poor road quality. Transporters say that they have been spending a lot of money and time hauling goods from one location to the other. The extra expenses the transporters incur in hauling the goods are transferred to the end-user consumer to cover the costs. With the reduced cost of transport, it is expected that the cost of commodities will also be cheaper. It is expected the cost of transporting goods will come down by at least 30% and therefore the cost of goods and living to also come down especially this time when the economy is facing various challenges.
Speaking in Naivasha during a Stakeholder engagement, the Go Electric Ltd MD, Eve Maina said, “With these custom-made EVs, we expect to ease the cost of doing business as our clients completely eliminate the cost of fuel and reduce maintenance costs by 40-50% as we go electric. A majority of the roads in Kenya are in sorry states and very bumpy. When you drive on these roads, you feel like you are dancing because you sometimes jump up and down in a rhythmic manner which is not a fun thing if it happens unintentionally. Such roads hurt the economy and that is why we came up with these custom-made vehicles to ease the transportation of goods across the country.”
Roads and Transport Cabinet Secretary Hon. Kipchumba Murkomen announced plans to develop a policy and implement tax incentives to enhance the uptake of EVs in a bid to accelerate electric mobility.
“The Government has prioritized the adoption of e-mobility in the country as one of the strategies for addressing climate change. The promotion of electric mobility is, therefore, part of the strategies adopted to address emissions responsible for global warming and climate change. It is against this background that the Kenya Kwanza Government committed to provide incentives for public service vehicles, boda-boda, and commercial transporters to convert to electric vehicles,” said Hon. Murkomen.
“The running cost of an electric vehicle is much lower than an equivalent petrol or diesel vehicle. Electric vehicles use electricity to charge their batteries instead of using fossil fuels like petrol or diesel. Electric vehicles are more efficient, and that combined with the electricity cost means that charging an electric vehicle is cheaper than filling petrol or diesel for your travel requirements. Using renewable energy sources makes the use of electric vehicles eco-friendly. The electricity cost can be reduced further if charging is done with the help of renewable energy sources installed at home, such as solar panels,” Shadrack Wangara Head of Growth of HAVA Net Limited, a leading ride-hailing local company operating in the region.