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Image: Electric motorcycles made in Kenya by Roam. Image courtesy of Roam

Clean Transport

Motorcycle Registrations Up 16% In Kenya In 2021

Motorcycle sales in Kenya were up 15.6% in 2021. This follows an impressive 17.4% growth in the lockdown-affected 2020, according to the latest Economic Survey from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS). Motorcycle registrations jumped from 246,705 units in 2020 to 285,203 units in 2021. The number of motorcycles registered in 2021 was more than 1.5 times the number of motorcycles registered  in 2018! The impressive growth over the past 6 years is shown in the table below:

The motorcycle segment is now Kenya’s largest vehicle segment, as seen from vehicle registrations in the table below:

Source: KNBS 2022 Economic Survey

Essentially, 99% of these 285,203 motorcycles are ICE motorcycles. There is a massive opportunity to electrify this industry, which is why a lot of startups have been running electric motorcycle pilot programs over the last couple of years. These firms are preparing to scale up big time and transform Kenya’s motorcycle sector.

Some of  the firms leading the way are:

  1. Kiri EVs
  2. Fika Mobility
  3. Ecobodaa
  4. Charji Energy
  5. Ampersand
  6. Roam 
  7. ARC Ride

Motorcycles are mainly used as public transport vehicles in Kenya. These motorcycle taxis are popularly known as boda bodas. The motorcycle taxi industry is a vital segment of Kenya’s economy. These motorcycle taxi riders enable 22 million rides per day, and the average daily earnings for the riders are close to 700 shillings ($6.60). Boda boda operators collect Sh980 million daily ($9.2 million) and the sector’s annual earnings are estimated at 357 billion shillings ($3.3 billion). Transitioning this sector to electric will also make a huge difference in the pockets of the owners of the bikes as well as the riders. Many of the startups are offering innovative financing arrangements, including models where one can buy the motorcycle and then rent the batteries, reducing the upfront costs. Range anxiety fears are also eliminated by offering battery swap services.

It is also important to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles in Kenya’s largest vehicle segment to reduce emissions. Kenya’s grid is already very clean. Renewables provided 92.3% of Kenya’s electricity generation in 2020! 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.

Featured image courtesy of Roam.

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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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