15 BYD K6 electric buses arrived in Mombasa yesterday on the ship Morning Christina. This is the largest ever shipment of electric buses in the region and the shipment marks the launch of BasiGo’s commercial phase after a very successful 6-month pilot program. BasiGo now has 17 electric buses in total in Kenya. The 15 new buses have arrived partially assembled and will be taken to Associated Vehicle Assemblers (AVA) in Mombasa for final assembly and finishing. AVA is a member of SimbaCorp.
The AVA production facilities are designed for an output of 30,000 units per year. AVA’s plant is located at Miritini in Mombasa County and currently assembles around 4,000 vehicles every year for world-leading brands, including Fuso, Toyota, Proton, Mahindra, Hino, Scania, Tata, Bieben, Volvo, and Bajaj. This means that the plant has plenty of room to assemble a lot more of the electric buses. BasiGo aims to have assembled over 1,000 electric buses in Kenya and have them deployed by the end of 2025. The BYD K6’s motor has a maximum power of 180kW and a maximum torque of 1500Nm. Its range of over 200 km should appeal to operators in Kenya’s urban public transport sector. In fact, the electric bus has been getting a lot of interest and BasiGo has already received over 100 requests for these buses.
BasiGo has quickly made inroads in the past 6 months in Kenya with its innovative Pay-as-You-Drive program that allows owners to purchase the BYD K6 electric bus without having to pay for the battery technology. The cost of the battery is then bundled into a subscription program. This makes the upfront cost of the K6 bus similar to a traditional diesel bus in the same class.
Here is a summary of BasiGo’s Pay-As-You-Drive program:
- A single daily subscription fee charged per km driven
- Billed and paid directly between the operator and BasiGo
- Includes nightly charging of the battery
- Includes all standard service and maintenance for the bus
- Free battery replacement in the event of any battery issue
- Includes dedicated customer care, roadside assistance, free software upgrades, and more
Operators can buy the K6 bus for about KSh 5 million ($46,000) and then pay KSh20 per km on the pay-as-you-drive model for battery and associated services ($0.18).
“The electrification of the transport sector in Kenya is accelerating and BasiGo is proud to be leading the way,” said Jit Bhattacharya, CEO of BasiGo. “These 15 buses will soon be plying routes across Nairobi, giving residents of Nairobi access to safe, comfortable, and clean public transport for their daily commute.”
BasiGo first launched electric buses into pilot operation in Nairobi starting in March of 2022. The company’s two pilot buses have driven over 120,000 kilometers and carried over 150,000 passengers with two separate bus operators: Citi Hoppa and East Shuttle. This new shipment is the same model of electric bus as the pilot program.
“Finishing the assembly of these buses here in Kenya is an important step in demonstrating that these new electric vehicles can be manufactured locally. Starting next year, all electric buses that BasiGo delivers to customers will be locally assembled here in Kenya.” said Moses Nderitu, Chief Revenue Officer at BasiGo.
“Assembly is just one aspect of localization. Rather than burning imported diesel, these buses will be powered entirely with locally produced renewable energy. The locally generated electricity should be included in the consideration of local content going into the bus.”
The government of Kenya has committed to a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 to address the growing climate crisis. With over 90% of Kenya’s electricity coming from renewables, shifting the public transport sector away from imported fossil fuels and over to domestically produced clean energy represents a key pathway for achieving this climate target.
Kenya’s public transport sector is home to over 100,000 privately-owned buses and minibuses, often referred to as matatus. BasiGo’s electric buses have driven over 110,000 kilometers and carried over 140,000 passengers as part of fleet operations with two Nairobi bus operators: Citi Hoppa and East Shuttle. BasiGo has already received over 100 reservations from customers, and recently announced partnerships with KCB Bank and Family Bank to provide up to 90% financing to owners for purchase of an electric bus.
Petroleum products contribute a significant portion of Kenya’s annual import bill. Petroleum products imported by Kenya increased by 12.0% to 6.4 million tonnes in 2021, costing the country a whopping $3 billion! Accelerating the penetration of these electric buses will go a long way in reducing diesel consumption in Kenya’s transport sector. Substituting imported diesel with locally generated clean electricity is the way to go! A lot of this local generation capacity is available during the night. Overnight charging of electric vehicles will boost demand and improve revenues for the utility companies. In March of this year, Kenya Power acting CEO Rosemary Oduor said “Kenya Power can supply electricity to charge 50,000 buses and two million motorcycles during off-peak hours.” It’s really good to see that great progress is being made in Kenya’s electric bus adoption programs.
Images courtesy of BasiGo
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