Last week, King Charles III and Queen Camilla made a state visit to Kenya to “celebrate the warm relationship between the two countries and the strong and dynamic partnership they continue to forge.”
The Royal Family’s website says, “The visit is at the invitation of President Ruto and comes as Kenya prepares to celebrate 60 years of independence. His Majesty’s first visit to a Commonwealth nation as King is therefore to the country in which Queen Elizabeth II’s reign began, having acceded to the throne in Kenya in February 1952.”
During the State Visit, King Charles III and Queen Camilla had the opportunity to see some of the innovative stuff happening in Kenya’s tech ecosystem. Several Kenyan startups and well as larger Kenyan businesses had an opportunity to showcase their products. One of the areas getting a lot of attention in Kenya is electric mobility. The Kenyan government has been very supportive of the electric mobility sector. One of the positive developments in the sector was the move by Kenya Power to introduce a special electricity tariff for the e-mobility sector. This tariff is lower than the standard residential and commercial electricity tariff. There is also an even lower time of use tariff for e-mobility during off peak periods.
There is a lot of exciting stuff happening in Kenya’s e-mobility sector, with tens of companies active in the electric motorcycle sector. The electric bus sector is also growing in Kenya via companies like BasiGo and Roam. The electric vehicle charging infrastructure side of things is also starting to gain traction through companies like EVchaja. The three-wheeler sector is one of the key sectors in Kenya’s transport ecosystem. In the coastal city of Mombasa, internal combustion engine three-wheelers can be seen all over the city.
Solutions Africa is a Mombasa-based company that is working to help catalyze the transition to electric tuk tuks. Therefore, it was a great moment for Solutions Africa last week when King Charles III and Queen Camilla got to visit the city and see one of these electric tuk tuks, especially given King Charles’ strong advocacy for action around issues relating to climate change.
Solutions Africa imports completely knocked-down kits and then works with Associated Vehicle Assemblers (AVA) to assemble the electric tuk tuks in Mombasa. Kenya incentivizes the local assembly of vehicles imported as fully knocked-down kits by exempting them from import duties and taxes. Only VAT is applicable. Solutions Africa has taken advantage of this to ensure that its electric tuk tuks will be competitive with the traditional ICE tuk tuks in terms of upfront purchase price.
Currently, Solutions Africa owns, operates, and manages the fleet of electric tuk tuks that it has introduced in Mombasa. Due to the weight and bulkiness of the lead acid batteries, Solutions Africa currently charges the tuk tuks directly, but is working on a battery swap model as well for when they introduce the lighter and easier to swap Li-ion options. It takes between 6 to 8 hours to fully charge the lead acid-based tuk tuks.
Solutions Africa is also working with the key players in Kenya’s 2- and 3-wheeler financing sector to allow operators to get flexible payment terms, thereby lowering the barriers to adoption. I am looking forward to seeing these electric tuk tuks in action soon.
Images courtesy of Solutions Africa
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