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Images courtesy of KenGen

Clean Transport

Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) Buys Hyundai Kona EVs & JAC Electric Pickup Trucks!

Kenya Electricity Generating Company PLC (KenGen) has an installed generation capacity of 1,904 MW, of which over 86% is drawn from green sources, namely: hydro (826 MW), geothermal (799 MW), and wind (25.5 MW). The rest (253 MW)  is generated from fossil fuels at its thermal power plants. KenGen is the largest power generating company in Kenya. There are several independent power producers as well in Kenya and the country’s total installed capacity is now 3,000 MW. Last year, 89% of the total electricity generated in Kenya was from renewables with KenGen spearheading Kenya’s clean electricity sector. Peak electricity demand in Kenya is around 2,200 MW and the minimum demand is close to 1,400 MW.

After leading the charge to increase the contribution of clean renewable electricity in Kenya’s generation mix, KenGen now wants to drive the decarbonization of the transport industry. KenGen has launched its plan to lead Kenya’s transition from gasoline-powered vehicles to electric vehicles as another way of combating climate change while solving transportation challenges in the country.  To launch the project, KenGen unveiled its first four electric vehicles (EVs) in Nairobi earlier today in a move to support its diversification ambitions in the e-mobility sector.

The four vehicles, which include two SUVs and two double-cabin pickups, will primarily be used for data collection and policy development as the company prepares to install over 30 EV charging stations across the country in 2023. The venture is part of the NSE-listed company’s environmental and economic sustainability plan to reduce global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by inspiring confidence for wider EV adoption across the country. The company will use the cost and environmental data from the four EVs to transition its fleet to EVs, further demonstrating KenGen’s role in elevating its position on attracting investment funds financing green initiatives.

Speaking during the launch, KenGen Acting Managing Director and CEO Abraham Serem noted that the pilot EV units would give them a comprehensive analysis of the feasibility of e-vehicles transition while also providing insights on initial technology choices for electric charging infrastructure in the country.

“I am glad to announce that in the next one year, we plan to roll out about 30 EV charging stations in major cities across the country. The four acquired EVs we are launching today will give the company first-hand experience and data on electric vehicles,” he said, adding that this is an endeavor they seek to conduct collectively with other stakeholders.

“The development of e-mobility is an area that will require a multi-sectoral approach. Under the leadership of the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum and working together with key partners, we have no doubt that this transition will pick up pace faster than envisaged,” said Mr. Serem.

He added that the rollout will be used to develop a blueprint for the conversion of the company’s fleet from Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) to electric vehicles as well as advice broader strategies on similar trends in the market by other players. This will also enable the company to save on fuel and maintenance costs, thus creating value for shareholders.

“The EV revolution is here with us. Countries around the world are racing to phase out gasoline and petrol cars. France, England, Norway, India, China, USA, and the Netherlands are leading with either a goal to stop the sale of internal combustion engines by 2050 or have significant EV sales,” said Mr. Serem.

Already, KenGen said it has two EV charging stations in Nairobi and Naivasha and plans to install an additional three by end of 2023 in Murang’a, Embu, and Kisumu Counties within the company’s power plants. The charging stations are not open to the public as they are being utilized for internal piloting and data collection before the commencement of commercial rollout.

It’s really good to see all electric pickup trucks in right-hand drive in this part of the world. According to wattEV2buy, the JAC T8 EV is a pure electric vehicle (BEV) pickup based on the ICE JAC T8. It has a 67 kWh battery that gives a range of 330 km / 206 miles (NEDC). It has a 7.4 kW onboard charger and 40 kW DC charging. It has a 110 kW (148 hp) motor, and 330 N.m / 243 lb.ft torque. The Hyundai Kona (64 kWh version) has been available in Kenya for a while now and several companies in Kenya have already bought some. KenGen joins in on the fun. Here is a video of the Hyundai Kona in Nairobi.

Utility companies usually have large fleets to run their operations. Power utility companies therefore have a large diesel and petrol bill for their fleet. It make so much sense them to cut that fossil fuel bill and substitute it with their own generated electricity to “fuel” their fleet. Their daily routes and general use cases are perfect for electrification. By catalyzing the adoption of EVs in the country, KenGen can also sell more kWhs in the off peak overnight periods when most EV owners are charging their cars, unlocking new revenue streams.

Images courtesy of KenGen

 
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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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