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Clean Transport

Kenya Power To Phase Out Fossil Fuel Vehicles & Adopt Electric Vehicles

The Kenya Power and Lighting Company PLC (Kenya Power) owns and operates most of the electricity transmission and distribution system in the country, and sells electricity to over 8.5 million accounts in Kenya. Its transmission and distribution network covers 248,834 km and this has enabled it to ensure that at least 75% of the country’s population have access the national grid. The Government has a controlling stake at 50.1% of shareholding, with private investors at 49.9%. Kenya Power is listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange.

Utility companies are some of the largest fleet operators and are good candidates for electrification. Kenya Power has been exploring opportunities in the electric mobility sector for a while. Kenya Power has been running a pilot program with 13 electric motorcycles. Kenya Power’s meter reading and revenue collection teams have been using electric motorcycles as part of a broader pilot program in which the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has partnered with Powerhive, Kenya Power, Kisumu County, and the Friends of Karura Forest.

The meter readers’ routes are perfect for electric vehicles. They have set routes and zones that they visit per day. Kenya Power has recently completed that pilot program for the motorcycles and now wants to step it up a notch. Today, Kenya Power has announced that it plans to phase out fossil fuel-powered vehicles and motorcycles from its fleet and replace them with electric vehicles. The company has set aside KShs 40 million ($332,000) in the current financial year to purchase 3 electric pickups and one electric 4-wheel drive vehicle (perhaps an electric SUV, but the announcement did not specify) as part of a new pilot program. Kenya Power also plans to install 3 charging stations around Nairobi for both the company’s use and for demonstration purposes.

Kenya Power’s Ag. Managing Director, Eng. Geoffrey Muli, said, “Kenya Power intends to substantially reduce its footprint by purchasing more electric vehicles in the near future, including two and three wheelers. We must play our rightful role to combat global warming by championing mitigation measures such as adoption of electric motorisation.”

Speaking at the Swedish Embassy in Nairobi at the launch of Roam Motors’ new electric motorcycles, Eng. Muli added that in the medium term Kenya Power will purchase 50 long range electric motorcycles as part of its plan to phase out fossil fuel powered motorcycles within its fleet-

Roam assembles its electric motorcycles in Nairobi. The Roam Air has two lithium-ion batteries giving a range of up to 180 km. It costs KShs 66 (US$0.55) to charge each battery.

Roam Air Specifications:

  • Battery Capacity: 2 x 3.24 kWh
  • Range (Dual Battery): 180 km
  • Nominal Power: 3000 W
  • Top Speed: 90 km/h
  • Payload: 220 kg
  • Weight (Single Battery): 135 kg
  • Charging time: 4 h

Features:

  • 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

Some of the lessons learned in the first 13-bike pilot program using an imported bike without local OEM/dealer presence were the importance of after sales service and the need for batteries with good range and reliability. Kenya Power is excited about the presence of companies such as Roam in Kenya which are assembling electric motorcycles locally and are also offering after sales service. Kenya Power says that it is now ready to fully embrace electric motorcycles.

“With an installed capacity of 3,077 MW and an off-peak load of 1,100 MW, Kenya Power has enough power to support the entire e-mobility ecosystem,” says Eng. Muli. Kenya Power has already invited bids for the construction of an e-mobility network infrastructure system (ENIS) to pilot charging stations. The infrastructure will also allow customers to pay via Kenya’s ubiquitous M-PESA mobile money platform as well as local and international credit cards. Renewables provided 89% of Kenya’s electricity generation in 2021 thanks to contributions from geothermal, wind, hydro, and some utility-scale solar. Kenya is one of the major players in the geothermal space and is in the top 10 in the world when it comes to geothermal generation installed capacity. Electric vehicles in Kenya will be charged using some very clean electricity.

 
 
 
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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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