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Images courtesy of ARC Ride

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ARC Ride Launches The Corbett Electric Motorbike & Automated Battery Swap Stations in Nairobi

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ARC Ride designs and builds electric vehicles, as well as runs a battery-as-a-service business in Nairobi, Kenya. ARC Ride wants to be the leading Battery-as-a-Service (BaaS) infrastructure provider for electric 2- and 3-wheel vehicles across Africa. Last week, ARC Ride launched the Corbett, a practical and durable multi-functional electric motorbike, designed for goods and food delivery or personal commuting.

Here are the specs of the Corbett:

  • 60 km Range
  • 60 km/h Top speed
  • 200 kg Payload
  • Motor Type: Hub motor
  • Motor Power: 3 kW
  • Battery Type: Swappable
  • Brake Type: Synchro disc brake
  • Dust & Water Resistance IP67
  • Wheel Type: 14″ alloy
  • Rear Wheel 4-point adjustable
  • Front Suspension Anti-dive, 4-point adjustable

ARC Ride wants riders to “unleash their style,” and the Corbett has five striking colors riders can choose from, including electric blue, fiery red, vibrant yellow, sleek black, and captivating olive green. It has a 1.44 kWh LFP battery and riders can swap their battery packs at one of ARC Ride’s smart automated swap stations in Nairobi in under 2 minutes. The swap stations were also launched last week alongside the Corbett. ARC Ride has so far installed 40 swap stations around Nairobi and plans to have at least 100 swap stations by year end.

The swap stations have 405 watts of solar PV and can also make use of some of these motorcycle battery packs to back up the swap station in conjunction with the solar PV in the event of a grid power outage.

Riders can get unlimited battery swaps from KES 350 ($2.54) per day or go for the standard battery swap from KES 185 ($1.34) per swap. Riders can opt to buy the Corbett outright for 180,000 ksh ($1,300) or get it via a lease via ARC Ride’s collaboration with several financing partners. ARC Ride lowers the barriers to entry by decoupling the battery as a service from retailing of the electric bikes. As the battery is one of the most expensive components of the bike, this allows riders to purchase the bike at a competitive price to similar internal combustion engine bikes and then rent the battery via the unlimited swaps per day or the per-swap model, depending on their range needs. Paying for the battery swap essentially becomes like paying for a “solid fuel bundle” as opposed to paying for some liters of petrol, but at a much lower cost than the cost of fossil fuels.

The delivery sector is growing in Kenya, and ARC Ride has partnered with firms such as Domino’s Pizza deliveries to provide a cleaner, quieter, and more energy efficient transport option for deliveries. Unlike in Asia, the personal mobility sector that makes use of these types of bikes and scooters is not yet well developed. Arc Ride is hoping to be the first mover at scale in this area.

ARC Ride says, “We are proud to be leading the charge to enable the mass adoption of electric 2 and 3 wheelers in rapidly growing cities like Nairobi. We achieve this through an infrastructure first approach with our market leading self service swapping stations. Each rider has a battery paired to them via the ARC Ride user app. It is then simply a case of scanning a QR code and swapping your battery. An empty door opens, you put your battery in and then a new fully charged battery is released to you. It’s a very simple swap-and-ride process taking under 2 mins and saves you 40% per km vs petrol.”

Images courtesy of ARC Ride

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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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