The Toyota Tsusho Group (TTC) has been working with people and societies in Africa under the philosophy of “WITH AFRICA FOR AFRICA” in various areas for a while now. On the mobility front, Mobility 54 Investment SAS was established in October 2019 as a mobility-dedicated Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) for Africa under Toyota Tsusho Corp. and CFAO group. Mobility 54 has invested in Aceleron and Zembo to explore the opportunity of developing the e-mobility ecosystem in Africa.
United Kingdom based Aceleron was formed in 2016 to create what it calls “the most sustainable ESG-positive battery in the world.” Its technology has been innovated under the scope of developing countries and regions as it features the patented-technology which the firm say is easy to assemble and repair without the need for expensive hi-tech machinery. This is obviously very critical to enable widespread adoption on the African continent and other places. Aceleron says its “compression based technology, coupled with data tools and software to service the batteries effectively is a step change from the conventional battery construction technique of welding cells together which leads to an un-maintainable, difficult to deal waste challenge. For users, this reduces replacement costs and ensures that the battery technology is truly paying back the carbon used in both construction and recycling of the pack.”
Uganda-based Zembo was founded in 2018 and is one of the pioneers in the electric motorcycle sector. Zembo is one of the firms leading the African transition to electric mobility. Zembo provides affordable (PayGo) electric 2-wheelers to low-income motorcycle-taxi drivers (boda-boda drivers). Zembo offers a battery swapping service, enabling their clients to swap within minutes at any of their stations. Zembo’s vision is to achieve the carbon neutrality and to improve motorcycle taxi drivers’ income in Africa. Zembo is actively working to provide a greener Africa with a clean alternative to the most common mode of transportation in East Africa. The transport sector is one of the major contributors of CO2 emissions in the continent’s congested metro regions.
Zembo is headquartered in Kampala, Uganda and places a strong focus on the following:
- The assembly of electric motorcycles in Uganda from imported motorcycle kits and batteries
- E-motorcycles sales directly to customers along with a hire purchase leasing option through external financial institutions including Tugende, an asset financing company in Uganda.
- Battery swapping stations. Zembo builds and operates its own battery swap network backed by solar photovoltaics energy generation at some flagship swap stations.
Aceleron, Zembo, Toyota Tsusho, and Mobility 54 recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding at the 8th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD8) to catalyze the development of the e-mobility industry in Africa. The MOU’s goal is to accelerate collaboration between Aceleron, Zembo, and the TTC Group and to explore opportunities for contributing to carbon neutrality. It will also provide a platform for sharing expertise and technologies accrued therein. Aceleron and Zembo have already began the alliance in which Aceleron will provide over 100 batteries for Zembo’s electric motorcycles. This alliance will be further expanded in order to build a sustainable e-mobility industry in Africa.
Images from Mobility54