ImaliPay, a fast-growing Pan-African and VC-backed one-stop-shop financial services platform focused on offering credit, savings, and insurance via a single channel or API to Africa’s gig economy platforms, has recently partnered with eBee to lower the barriers for workers in the on-demand delivery sector to have access to cleaner and cheaper to operate electric bicycles. This partnership allows workers in this industry to have access to electric bicycles on favorable terms without having to pay a lump-sum for outright purchase.
eBee is a Kenyan startup established in 2020. eBee offers electric bicycles on a subscription basis for the delivery market. Its vehicle-as-a-service concept makes e-bikes affordable and accessible to people in Africa who use the vehicles to generate an income. ImaliPay incorporates a marketplace of products and services that are essential to gig economy workers. ImaliPay’s services ensure that informal workers and self-employed people in the gig economy space in Africa are able to access bespoke financial services that powers their work, drives productivity, and also allows them to earn more from their work.
eBee operates a fleet of electric bicycles under its e-bike plan. The company has started with Nairobi, where it has over 100 electric bicycles on the road. Under the e-bike plan, eBee retains ownership of the bikes and provides the courier/delivery service with a fleet of well-maintained and affordable e-bikes. Riders are then able to access the bikes via daily, weekly, or monthly subscriptions.
eBee is promoting electric bicycles as a more affordable, cleaner, and convenient option for service providers operating on heavily congested roads in Nairobi and other large cities on the continent. eBee’s e-bikes are specially designed for food and light parcel delivery. Riders are able to retain more of their hard-earned income because they save on fuel costs. Electric bicycles also allow a wider cross-section of the population to join the industry, as they do not require any licenses and registration. In addition, e-bikes are popular with female riders, who have traditionally not been very active in the delivery space. eBee’s e-bikes have been specially built for Africa. They have a range of up to 80 km with a battery that can be fully charged in 3-4 hours at any standard socket.
ImaliPay and eBee provide a unique combination of financing and income-generating assets allowing gig-workers to invest in their own future. Partnerships such as these will help catalyze the adoption of electric bicycles and boost the micromobility economy. Electric bicycles are especially effective for shorter trips in the most congested parts of inner cities and are a viable alternative to cover a lot of the trips currently being serviced by internal combustion engine (ICE) motorcycles.
E-bikes can be an important contributor to Kenya’s vision 2030 goals for transport, and lower environmental damage through the abatement of tailpipe emissions from fossil fueled motorcycles. A paper by Fiona Raje, et al., cites that 39% of CO2 emissions in Kenya are from the transport sector. A 2015 study by the Energy Regulatory Commission, ERC (Now called The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority, 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. In 2020, a 17.4% growth in motor- and auto-cycle registrations was recorded according to the latest Economic Survey from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS). Motorcycle registrations jumped from 210,103 units in 2019 to 246,705 units in 2020. The number of motorcycles registered in 2020 is more than double the number of motorcycles registered in 2016! Replacing some of these ICE motorcycles with more affordable and cleaner electric bicycles will go a long way in reducing emissions and improving local air quality. With 92.3% of Kenya’s electricity generation coming from renewable energy sources, these electric bicycles will be charged using Kenya’s very clean grid.
All images courtesy of eBee.
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