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: Bodawerk E-Boda Electric Motorcycle. Picture by Nambuya Imbega
: Bodawerk E-Boda Electric Motorcycle. Picture by Nambuya Imbega

Air Quality

Importance Of Accelerating EV Adoption To Reduce CO2 Emissions, Using Kenya As An Example (Part 2)

We continue our series on the importance of accelerating EV adoption to reduce CO2 emissions. This time we take a look at the impact of motorcycles.

We continue our series on the importance of accelerating EV adoption to reduce CO2 emissions. In part 1, we showed that by gradually increasing the penetration of electric cars every year, EV adoption will displace a significant amount of CO2 emissions in Kenya.

This time we take a look at the impact of motorcycles. Motorcycle registrations started to grow significantly in Kenya in 2007. 16,293 motorcycles were registered in 2007, and 140,215 motorcycles were registered in 2011. Registrations started to show strong growth again from 2017 with 186,434 motorcycles registered in that year.

The number of motorcycle registrations in Kenya per year since 2003. Drawn from data from Madara Ogot, et al., and the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics-Economic Survey 2020.

The number of motorcycle registrations in Kenya per year since 2003. Drawn from data from Madara Ogot, et al., and the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics-Economic Survey 2020.

A record 210,103 motorcycles were registered in 2019, bringing the total number of registered motorcycles since 1968 to over 1.6 million. This number is expected to keep growing exponentially as demand soars due to the growth of the on-demand delivery market as well as the motorcycle taxi industry.

A 2015 study by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC, now called the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority, or EPRA) on the “Global Fuel Economy Initiative Study in Kenya (GFEI)” cites that emissions from motorcycles of less than 150 cc are about 46.5 g/km of CO2.

Madara Ogot, et al., carried out a survey across the major cities and found that the average annual distance covered by motorcycles is around 17,800. A 2018 paper by Fiona Raje, et al., cites that 39% of CO2 emissions in Kenya are from the transport sector.

Average annual vehicle kilometers traveled by motorcycles in Kenya
17,800
CO2 Emissions at 45.6 g/km 0.81 tonnes of CO2 per year per motorbike 
Local CO2 emissions saved if 50% of annual motorbike sales were electric (105,052 motorcycles) 85,092 tonnes of CO2 emissions saved annually

From the table above, it is clear to see that by gradually increasing the penetration of electric motorcycles in Kenya, significant savings in CO2 emissions can be achieved. This can be achieved by incentivizing purchases of new electric motorbikes, as well as accelerating the conversion of old motorcycles to electric. There is a growing nucleus of startups converting old motorcycles to electric in Kenya and East Africa.

: Bodawerk E-Boda Electric Motorcycle. Picture by Nambuya Imbega

Strong e-mobility focus at the recent Lake Basin Region Innovation & Investment Week In Kisumu, Bodawerk E-Boda Electric Motorcycle. Image by Nambuya Imbega

Kenya’s grid is already powered by a generation mix that is 93% renewable, thanks to significant contributions from geothermal, hydropower, wind, and some utility-scale solar plants. And since 39% of CO2 emissions in Kenya are from the transport sector, the transition to electromobility is sure to be the best route to reducing these emissions.

WeTu E-Cargo bike. Picture by Nambuya Imbega

WeTu E-Cargo bike. Image by Nambuya Imbega

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Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai has been fascinated with batteries since he was in primary school. As part of his High School Physics class he had to choose an elective course. He picked the renewable energy course and he has been hooked ever since. At university he continued to explore materials with applications in the energy space and ending up doing a PhD involving the study of radiation damage in High Temperature Gas Cooled Nuclear Reactors. He has since transitioned to work in the Solar and Storage industry and his love for batteries has driven him to obsess about electric vehicles.

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