Super Metro Sacco, one of Nairobi’s leading public transport operators, has just introduced its first electric bus as part of its fleet. Supplied by Kenyan electric mobility start-up BasiGo, the 25-seater K6 electric bus started operating yesterday and will ply the CBD to Kikuyu and CBD to Kitengela routes. The bus is the first of 5 electric buses that Super Metro Sacco will introduce this month!
Commenting on this, Jit Bhattacharya, CEO of BasiGo, said, “Kenya has a vibrant public transport system that provides a vital service to millions of people each day. Today, we are proud to hand over this transformative bus to Super Metro, one of Nairobi’s leading public transport operators. Through this partnership, BasiGo and Super Metro are bringing Nairobi commuters a cleaner, quieter and more comfortable journey on buses powered by 90% renewable energy generated right here in Kenya.”
Adding to this, Super Metro Sacco chairperson Nelson Mwangi Nduki said, “Super Metro prides itself on providing excellent and seamless services to our customers. Our decision to introduce electric buses into our fleet is therefore based on our desire to be a leading and efficient transport partner for all our commuters. We have acquired the bus to offer our customers a top notch ride experience and look forward to hearing positive feedback from our drivers and passengers. To mark our first electric ride, all passengers who ride on our electric bus today will enjoy a free ride. In addition, since it’s Valentine’s day, we’re sharing the love with our passengers by giving a cupcake to everyone who rides on our electric bus today.”
The K6 is a 25-seat, 250-kilometer range electric bus that recharges in less than 4 hours and is designed by BYD Automotive, the largest manufacturer of electric vehicles in the world. The K6 electric bus introduced by BasiGo includes a premium passenger coach with synthetic leather seats, free WiFi, USB charging ports, and an onboard television screen.
It’s really great to see that the fleet of electric buses in Nairobi is growing thanks to BasiGo’s innovative Pay-As-You-Drive model that lowers the barriers to entry for operators to get brand new electric buses.
Here is a summary of BasiGo’s Pay-As-You-Drive:
- 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
Since launching in March 2022, BasiGo’s electric buses have driven over 150,000 kilometers and carried over 200,000 passengers as part of fleet operations with two Nairobi bus operators. BasiGo plans to supply over 1,000 locally manufactured mass transit electric buses to transport operators in Kenya over the next three years.
BasiGo only launched in March 2022 and is already making incredible inroads in Kenya’s commuter bus service sector. It goes to show what can be achieved in a short space of time with the right team, commitment and enabling environment. The beauty of all this is that more buses are being added by BasiGo and partners and widening the route network serviced by electric buses. This is a very important development, as electric buses deployed locally are the best way to allow the majority of people to access and experience the world of electric mobility. I just love this approach and hope BasiGo and partners can scale as fast as reasonably possible to spread this all over Nairobi as well as all the major cities and towns in Kenya and the region.
BasiGo is also going all out to raise awareness on the capability of these buses. In an awesome move, BasiGo recently drove one of its buses to Naivasha and back to Nairobi on one charge. These kinds of activities are really good to show the general public as well as fleet operators the capabilities of these modern electric buses. Naivasha is about 90 km from Nairobi. Nairobi is about 1,795 meters above sea level and Naivasha is about 2,086 meters above sea level.
The buses will be assumed locally in Mombasa by AVA. Kenya has an installed electricity generation capacity of 3,321 MW. The peak demand is 2,132 MW. However, it is the low overnight off-peak demand of 1,100 MW that Kenya Power wants to exploit initially to power Kenya’s transition to electric mobility.
Renewables provided about 90% 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. As most of EV charging globally happens overnight, this low off-peak demand targeted for EV charging will help unlock efficiencies from available generation capacity such as Kenya’s geothermal plants as well as boosting Kenya Power’s revenues, while helping to reduce Kenya’s huge fossil fuel import bill.
The range of these K6 buses fits nicely with most public service operator’s needs, meaning they will be able to service their routes most of the day and charge mostly at night with all that available capacity. Petroleum products contribute a significant portion to 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 US$3 billion! Reducing fossil fuel imports could help Kenya reduce its huge trade deficit.
These are exciting times in Kenya’s nascent electric mobility sector.
Images courtesy of BasiGo.