ARC Ride, a British-Kenyan firm with a focus on providing safe and reliable transport and mobility services through smart electric vehicle solutions and proprietary platform, has announced a new strategic partnership and equity investment by Musashi Seimitsu and Watu. The investment will help accelerate ARC Ride’s mission to provide mass transportation in Africa’s rapidly growing cities, showing private sector commitment to help address the global climate crisis.
ARC Ride was established in East Africa in 2020 to spark an e-mobility revolution in the region. As cities across the continent continue to grow, there has been a huge increase in the number of motorbikes and tuk-tuks in the region. These motorbikes are the main mode of transportation in many urban centers. For example, in Kenya, there are well over 2 million internal motorcycles. Although these vehicles can be convenient, meeting the demands of busy commuters and last-mile delivery services, they are expensive to run, noisy, and polluting. Accelerating the adoption of electric motorcycles will help reduce the contribution of GHG emissions from the transport sector as well as reduce operational costs for motorcycle operators.
Both partnerships strengthen ARC Ride’s EV ecosystem in critical areas:
Musashi’s leading R&D will allow ARC Ride to expand its fleet from its main product, the electric motorcycle (boda boda), to include electric personal transport vehicles and an electric last-mile goods delivery vehicle.
“Our partnership with and investment in ARC Ride represents our company’s commitment to ‘Go Far Beyond’. We are proud to invest in ARC Ride’s goal to build the best first and last mile vehicles in the sector” – Hiroshi Otsuka, Group CEO, Musashi Seimitsu
Watu’s experience in financing experience creates a route to market for affordable reliable and clean vehicles for all. This will help ARC Ride penetrate the mass-market and ensure electric vehicles are an affordable part of the fabric of Nairobi’s transport network.
“Our partnership with and investment in ARC Ride represents our company’s aim of empowering the future of mobility in Africa. ”– Nikhil N. Patel, Chief Growth Officer, Watu
Through partnering with Watu, ARC Ride will allow riders to ride electric and save significantly on the rising fuel costs. Watu is an Asset FinTech revolutionizing mass-market mobility across Africa through financial inclusion and accessibility. Watu provides access to affordable and flexible financing for 2- and 3-wheelers. Watu has so far provided over 370,000 loans across 6 countries and positively impacted the lives of more than 2 million people. Watu is also actively promoting financial literacy and independence, adoption of digital payments and increased regulatory and safety compliances.
ARC Ride has created a vehicle assembly and R&D hub in Nairobi and from this it will work with Musashi and other strategic partners to build the best-in-class vehicles and swapping network. This will be supported by a growing tech team who are building the data driven ecosystem necessary to manage regular battery swapping through ARC Rides innovative app and swapping network.
Joseph Hurst Croft, CEO of ARC Ride, commented: “This is a huge step in our objective to build the leading Pan-African Electric mobility company. This investment supports our market leading commitment to build the charging infrastructure needed to allow mass adoption of two wheeler EVs in rapidly growing cities across Africa. ARC Ride will install a comprehensive network of battery swap lockers throughout our target cities, starting in Nairobi.”
One of ARC Ride’s electric vehicles is the high-speed E2+. The E2+ is designed for both the delivery/ logistics service and for carrying passengers in the famous boda boda motorcycle taxi industry. It has been designed with a battery swapping system leveraging ARC Ride’s battery swapping network. ARC Ride says the E2+ is 50% cheaper to run than a petrol version and the battery swapping system is aimed at maximizing riders’ time on the road.
All images courtesy of ARC Ride.
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