- Kenya Power is at the center of electric motorization as it has to ensure adequate and reliable electricity supply to spur the growth of this nascent industry.
- GIZ is keen to help Kenya develop a framework that will support a coordinated approach toward the implementation of electric motorization in the country.
- Kenya Power has already announced plans to phase out fossil fuel-powered vehicles and motorbikes from its fleet in favour of electric-powered ones.
Kenya’s ambitious goal to expand the Electric Vehicles (EVs) market has received backing from the Germany government, in what could help the East African nation fast-track adoption of the environmentally friendly units.
More than 300 experts drawn from the energy, finance, and transport sectors, as well as county governments, development partners, and the private sector will meet in Nairobi for an e-mobility conference scheduled for February 7-8. The forum will focus on the road map for electric motorization.
It has been organized by Kenya Power, the country’s electricity distributor, in partnership with the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ).
GIZ has a budget of 380 million euros (USD414.7 million) and volume of operations of two billion euros (USD2.2 billion), with activities in more than 90 states.
The state-backed entity is keen to help Kenya develop a framework that will support a coordinated approach toward the implementation of electric motorization in the country.
The Nairobi forum will be a platform to advocate for the amalgamation of policies under development by different stakeholders to ensure that they capture all opportunities presented through the entire e-mobility value chain.
“The conference will offer an opportunity to map out the entire e-mobility value chain to drive investments and attract the participation of potential stakeholders to increase the uptake of electric vehicles,” Kenya Power acting managing director Geoffrey Muli said on Wednesday.
Kenya Power is at the center of electric motorization as it has to ensure adequate and reliable electricity supply to spur the growth of this nascent industry.
EVs are vehicles that are either partially or fully powered on electric power. They have low running costs as they have less moving parts for maintaining and also more environmentally friendly, as they use little or no fossil fuels (petrol or diesel)
Policies and infrastructure
GIZ is supporting Kenya as it looks into charging infrastructure, review policies and regulations supporting the development of the charging system and benchmark against regional and global leaders in e-mobility.
Kenya Power has already announced plans to phase out fossil fuel-powered vehicles and motorbikes from its fleet in favour of electric-powered ones.
The company has set aside Sh40 million in the current financial year to purchase three electric vehicles and to construct three electric vehicle-charging stations within Nairobi, both for its use and demonstration purposes.
It plans to supply power to charging stations for electric vehicles in parking lots, key roads, and shopping malls in major towns, being developed by private investors.
It also plans to put up its own commercial charging stations in future.
Power producer Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) already has four-electric vehicles on trial, as the firm seeks to transition from fuel powered cars to EV.
According to the company, the units are primarily being used for data collection and policy development as the company prepares to install over 30 EV charging stations across the country this year.
The venture is part of the Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed company’s environmental and economic sustainability plan to reduce global GreenHouse Gas (GHG) emissions by inspiring confidence for wider EV adoption across the country.
While producing EVs comes with its impact on the environment, given the effects of mining and processing lithium, cobalt, nickel and other metals needed in the manufacturing, Kenya is well positioned to running them.
This is on the country’s huge renewable electricity capacity where geothermal, which is KenGen’s main source of electricity generation, accounts for almost half of Kenya’s energy mix (49%).
The country also has hydropower, wind and solar, although the generation from thermal is still in place. Kenya had an installed capacity of 3,322MW as of December, latest Kenya Power data indicates. Effective generation capacity was at 2,976MW.
Kenya has a target of achieving universal electricity access by 2026 with a target of 100 per cent clean energy use by 2030.
Since 2020, the government has rolled out a series of policies aimed at encouraging the use and production of EVs. It has put in place the Kenya National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy, aimed at driving more EVs to the Kenyan roads.
In 2021, it sought a consultant to develop a national electric mobility policy, funded partially by the World Bank and the Kenyan government.
Current EV space
There has been a growing presence of EVs on the Kenyan roads, mainly major towns led by the capital Nairobi.
Both personal car owners and passenger transport operators are slowly warming up to EVs. Notable is start-up BasiGo which was the first company to launch an electric passenger bus in Kenya.
The buses, which can travel 250 kilometres on one charge, are assembled locally using parts designed by Chinese car making giant BYD.
The firm has been keen on ramping up production of public transport vehicles (PSVs) as it targets to deliver 100 units by the end of this year.
The plans come amid a $6.6 million equity funding co-led by Novastar; an Africa-focused VC firm, Mobility54; the corporate venture capital arm of Toyota Tsusho; and Trucks.vc, a Silicon-Valley based VC firm that backs startups in the transport sector.
BasiGo has raised about $10.9 million since its launch. In December, it imported 15 electric buses.
Kenya is keen to increase the use of EVs and reduce emissions from petrol and diesel where currently, 98 per cent of the about bout two million vehicles on the roads use the two fuel types.
It is estimated that there are at least 1,000 electric-powered vehicles currently on the country’s roads, ranging from two-wheelers, three-wheelers and four-wheelers.
Demand is expected to accelerate in the coming years, as car manufacturers increasingly roll out electricity- powered vehicles.
Electric motorization is gaining traction globally as electric vehicles have been identified as a sustainable source of transport, and one of the many initiatives that global and policy leaders are adopting to redress the damage caused by human activity on the environment.
Globally, there are about 10 million EVs on the roads. Of these, an estimated 3.1 million are passenger electric vehicles with China accounting for an estimated 1.48 million.
In the continent, South Africa is among leading countries on EVs with about 1,600 units on its roads.
Kenya Power says it has enough electricity to charge 50,000 buses and two million motorcycles during off-peak hours.
An average minibus, operating within Nairobi covers approximately 200 kilometers per day and consumes 120 KWh/units at a cost of Sh2,400.
“A thousand mini buses, operating within the city, would therefore consume approximately 120 MWh per day, presenting us with a viable business case to promote the e-mobility agenda,” the firm affirms.
Germany, which is backing Kenya’s ambitious plan, has in recent times ramped up production of EVs.
In December, plugin electric vehicles took majority of sales for the first time accounting for 55.4 per cent of the month’s passenger auto sales, with full electrics taking a third (33.2%) and plugin hybrids taking over a fifth (22.2%).
Plug-less hybrids took 12.8 per cent, leaving less than a third of sales for combustion-only autos (31.8%), global industry data shows.
Overall auto volumes in December were 314,318 units, up 38 per cent compared to December 2021.
2022’s total auto sales were 2.65 million units, up just 1.1 per cent from 2021. December’s overall bestselling vehicle was the Tesla Model 3 with 9,566 registrations.
The German government has approved a plan to spend 6.3 billion euros ($6.9 billion) over three years, to scale up the number of charging stations for electric vehicles across the country.
This is part of its drive to towards achieving net zero emissions.