Kenya’s electric utility company, Kenya Power, which is currently the only electricity off-taker in the country that has the mandate of procuring, distributing, and retailing electricity across the country, is piloting electric motorcycles. The pilot is part of a broader program in which UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has partnered with Powerhive, Kenya Power, Kisumu County, and the Friends of Karura Forest.
The program will spearhead the utility company’s adoption of zero emissions electric vehicles. The electric motorcycles will be attached to Kenya Power’s meter reading and revenue collection teams in Kiambu, Githunguri, Limuru, Naivasha, and Ruai. The meter readers’ routes are perfect for electric vehicles. They have set routes and zones that they visit per day.
The motorcycles being used in this pilot were donated by Shenzhen Shenling Car Company Limited (TAILG). The pilot will run for 6-12 months. The motorcycles have the following specifications:
|Battery (Lithium Ion)||72V 40 Ah|
Kenya is in a very good position to lead the transition in the region. Kenya’s installed generation capacity is sitting at over 2,800 MW, which now exceeds the current peak demand of around 1,900 MW. At night, during the off-peak periods, this demand goes down even further, to about 1000 MW. Kenya’s energy mix is dominated by renewables. Electricity is generated mostly by hydro, solar, geothermal, and wind. The transition to electromobility and mass adoption of EVs in Kenya will create a new revenue stream for Kenya Power, unlocking efficiencies in the system and optimizing the capacity utilization of KenGen’s generation plants. Kenya Power had been complaining about some of its commercial and industrial customers installing their own solar plants, dealing a blow to its declining revenues. Electric vehicles will give it a much needed boost.
“We have a footprint across the entire country with over 8 million customers connected to electricity, and a network that would support and drive the e-mobility agenda,” said Bernard Ngugi, Kenya Power Managing Director & CEO. “In this regard, we are committed to providing clean, reliable and quality electricity to our customers as we embrace the opportunities presented by electric motorization. Kenya Power is heavily invested in promoting responsible environmental practices because our business depends on it. We have a green energy mix of over 90%, one of the highest of any utility in the world. We therefore look forward to leading the way in achieving an environmentally friendly economy.”
Kenya’s Ministry of Housing and Urban Development is also playing a key role in the push to accelerate the transition to electromobility. The Ministry is making provisions for external charging ports to be incorporated into the building standards to support e-mobility charging at residential premises.
A record 210,103 motorcycles were registered in 2019 in Kenya. There are now over 1.6 million registered ICE motorcycles in Kenya. Accelerating the transition to electric motorcycles will have a huge impact on reducing CO2 emissions.
All images by Remeredzai Kuhudzai
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