Opibus, a Swedish-Kenyan technology company that develops, designs, and manufactures electric vehicles tailored for the African continent, has officially changed its name to Roam Motors. Roam is one of the firms leading the transition to sustainable transport in Africa. Founded in 2017, it became the first company to deliver locally produced electric motorcycles and electric buses. With nearly 100 employees, ROAM is today the leading manufacturer of electric vehicles in Africa and has one of the largest fleets of electric motorcycles deployed, and was recently featured in the print issue of National Geographic.
This rebrand comes following the company’s expansion, which has led to a strategic shift in the company’s vision. The purpose of the change is to better represent the values the company stands for. Roam means to travel over a wide area, signifying the company’s exploration of Africa. The new name is intended to reflect the company’s ambition to electrify Africa’s transportation sector, as well as its grand ambition to deliver disruptive technologies optimized for the local use case all over the continent.
“This is more than a name change, it’s a milestone that brings us closer to realizing our ambition as leaders in providing electric mobility solutions and energy systems for the African region. It is exciting to see how far we have come and forging forward, it is even more thrilling seeing there are endless possibilities to what we can achieve in Africa.” Filip Lövström, CEO, Roam (previously Opibus)
The transformation to Roam turns the page on Opibus, which has operated since 2017. Over this period, it has advanced to electric motorcycles and, most recently, the launch of the first all-electric bus, designed and developed in Africa. These are just the initial stages of the evolving roadmap across the company’s growth.
Under the umbrella of Roam, the company will be serving Roam Motorcycles, Roam Transit (buses), Roam Energy, Charging, and Muse which covers the conversions for the mining, utility and Safari segment, which together create a circular and sustainable ecosystem solution for the transport sector.
The company’s focus will remain on electric vehicles and energy system solutions, with a scale-up in their deployment. After years of market research, the mass transportation sector has recently emerged as an area with the greatest impact on transportation. Africa’s road transport sector accounts for 50% of the continent’s transport emissions and 23% of global transport emissions. For this reason, the company has aggressively made a leapfrog for this emerging market with a key focus on mass transit.
While sales of electric vehicles have been growing in Europe and China, sales of EVs on the African continent have been quite slow. UK plugin EVs hit 23% in March. Plug-ins hit a new record high 92% share in March in Norway. In February, the market share hit 20% in China. In Africa, we are yet to see this level of growth. In South Africa, Africa’s largest motor vehicle market, only 269 plug-in vehicles were sold in 2021. Firms such as Roam that are developing vehicles locally that are tailored for local markets will have a huge role to play in catalyzing the transition to electric mobility on the continent.
All images courtesy of Opibus