Roam has today announced the launch of its next-generation electric motorcycle, the Roam Air. The Roam Air is designed both for urban and rural environments. Several years of research and months of development were dedicated to building the optimal electric motorcycle for Africa.
Motorcycles are a really big deal in Kenya and across the rest of East Africa. Motorcycle sales in Kenya were up 15.6% in 2021. This follows an impressive 17.4% 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:
Estimates put the number of internal combustion engine motorcycles on the roads in East Africa at well over 5 million. These motorcycles are major contributors of CO2 emissions. Accelerating the adoption of electric motorcycles in East Africa will go along way in reducing these emissions. Kenya’s electricity grid has an awesome mix of renewables such as geothermal, hydro, wind, and some utility scale solar. These renewables contributed about 90% of the electricity generated in Kenya in 2021. Uganda, Ethiopia, and several other countries also have good contributions from renewables, therefore, electric motorcycles introduced in Kenya and the region will be charged from some very clean electricity. The electric motorcycle industry in this region also has a lot of potential to make big impact on the economic front through the reduction of fossil fuel imports resulting in foreign currency savings.
Roam, which is the leader in the local electric motorcycle industry, has now launched the Roam Air with a strong focus on addressing the needs of motorcycle riders and the local conditions. The motorcycle has been designed to be a robust vehicle with best in class carrying capacity, range ,and top speed to enable mass adoption of clean transport across the continent without the need for additional infrastructure. This motorcycle is the first fully adapted electric motorcycle for the commercial market on the continent, while at the same time almost reaching price parity with local petrol motorcycles (priced at $1500) and with up to 70% lower running cost, thereby creating a new standard for transport on the African continent.
Based on a new innovative frame, the motorcycle houses a dual battery system. The new configuration allows users to remove the battery and plug it into any normal outlet at home, just like your phone, or charge the battery in public charging and swapping stations. The frame is engineered to tackle all terrains, while also accommodating for a storage compartment replacing the fuel tank, interchangeability with local spare parts, and increased carrying capacity on the extended subframe. The interchangeability with local spare parts is a key feature that will allow operators of these electric motorcycle to find spare parts easily as well as support local downstream industries. The vehicle has been developed from research by Roam’s engineering team in Nairobi.
“We are thrilled to announce the unveiling of the Roam Air, our next-generation electric motorcycle, adapted and designed in detail for the African use-case and with special focus on affordability, reliability and connectivity. An electric motorcycle tailored for different commercial use-cases such as carrying passengers or cargo with safety at the forefront. It is truly a testament to our commitment to offering world-class electric vehicle technology to the continent.” – Filip Lövström, CEO and Co-Founder of Roam
In the coming months, Roam will be scaling up production in Nairobi to accommodate the large customer interest in the region. With this product, Roam is targeting large commercial motorcycle distribution channels across Africa, such as financiers for end-users, swapping station owners, and large commercial clients.
Here are the specs of the new Roam Air:
Roam Air Specifications:
- Battery Capacity: 2 x 3.24 kWh
- Range (Dual Battery): 180km
- Nominal Power: 3000 W
- Top Speed: 90 km/h
- Payload: 220 kg
- Weight (Single Battery): 135 kg
- Charging time: 4 h
- Removable dual battery solution
- Driving modes: Eco, Standard, Power, Sports, Reverse
- Increased carrying capacity on subframe
- State-of-the-art software and onboard telemetry
- Storage compartment in tank
- Improved screen user interface with better visibility
- USB charging port
The Swedish-Kenyan technology company was founded in 2017. It became the first company to deliver locally produced electric motorcycles and buses. Roam now has nearly 100 employees. Roam is today the leading provider of electric vehicles in Africa and was recently listed on TIME Magazine’s top 100 most innovative companies.
All images courtesy of Roam
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