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Kenya’s President Launches The Boda Care Program, Signs Bill Encouraging Local Manufacturing Of E-Mobility Products

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Motorcycle taxis, popularly known as boda bodas, are a vital pillar of the transport ecosystem in Kenya. There are millions of boda bodas in Kenya as well as in the rest of the East African region, and there are millions more in West and Central Africa.

In Kenya, President William Ruto attended the launch of the boda care program. In an effort to educate the boda boda community on electric mobility as well as encourage universal health coverage, the president launched the boda boda care program that includes a free one-year medical cover courtesy of NHIF, as well as free first responder training to riders. The empowerment and capacity-building program follows the government’s boda boda reforms in 2022 and aims to ensure that boda boda riders across the country adhere to the laws and regulations stipulated by NTSA. The boda care initiative is focused on enhancing the welfare of motorcycle taxi operators in Kenya, targeting over 200,000 boda boda riders.

One of the leaders in the electric motorcycle space on the African continent, Roam, had the honor of showcasing to H.E President William Ruto Kenya’s first locally designed and assembled electric motorcycle, the Roam Air. Roam is a Nairobi-based technology company that develops, designs, and deploys electric vehicles tailored for the African continent, leading the transition to sustainable transport. Founded in 2017, it became the first company to deliver locally produced electric motorcycles and buses. With nearly 200 employees, Roam is today the leading provider of electric vehicles in Africa and was recently a finalist in the Prince Williams Earth Shot Prize.

Dennis Wakaba, Country Sales Executive, saic, “Roam’s presence at this event underscores our dedication to supporting the motorcycle taxi industry through innovative and sustainable mobility solutions. The office of the President’s personal invite to Roam to the event not only underscores the significance of sustainable transportation solutions in addressing societal and environmental challenges but also emphasizes the significance of Roam’s efforts in spearheading this transformative movement.”

Here are some specs of the Roam Air:

  • Peak Torque: 58 Nm
  • Top speed: 90 km/h
  • Acceleration 0-60 km/h: 6.9 sec
  • Range: 70 km per battery pack, depending on driving behavior
  • Battery Capacity: 2x 3.24 kWh
  • Payload: 220 kg
  • Weight: 129 kg (single battery), 149 kg (dual battery)

Other key features:

  • Removable dual battery solution
  • Driving modes: Eco, Standard, Power, Sports, Reverse
  • Increased carrying capacity on subframe
  • State-of-the-art software and onboard telemetry
  • Improved screen user interface with better visibility
  • Storage compartment
  • Fleet management functionality

Before the President attended the boda care launch event, he signed into law a bill that favors local manufacturing of electric mobility products. The bill includes an electric vehicle exemption from VAT, excise duty exemption for locally assembled motorcycles, electric vehicle batteries exemption from both VAT and import duty, as well as CKD and SKD corporate tax reduction to 15%. This move will surely help make electric motorcycles and buses more accessible to the public.

Among other things, the new Finance Act zones in on electric, bicycles, motorcycles, and buses. It mentions lithium-ion batteries, but it doesn’t specifically mention electric cars. Perhaps sooner rather than later they will also look into incentivizing electric car adoption as well, in addition to some measures that have been implemented before, such as the reduction of excise duty on electric cars. Charging infrastructure is also an area that needs more incentives, in addition to other welcome developments such as the recently introduced special electricity tariff for the electric mobility sector.

Images courtesy of the office of the President and Roam

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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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