GOGO, formerly known as BODAWERK, and its asset financing partner Watu have just celebrated a key milestone. The 1,000th electric motorcycle under their new partnership has just been sold in Uganda. GOGO specializes in advanced lithium-ion battery technology for applications across its range of products, including electric motorcycles, agricultural equipment, and renewable energy storage. Watu is an asset financing company working in financial inclusion across Africa. Watu is building an ecosystem for unbanked and underserved individuals by providing access to mobility and connectivity tools that enhance digital literacy, economic growth, quality of life, and opportunity. Watu says the company’s work has provided over 1 million loans across 7 countries so far and has positively impacted the lives of more than 4 million people.
These kinds of partnerships between electric motorcycle firms and financing partners are really critical in the quest to accelerate the adoption of electric mobility in sectors such as the motorcycle taxi industry on the African continent. The progress made so far in the first 8 months of this partnership is really encouraging. The collaboration between GOGO and Watu in Uganda is a powerful example of the potential within the African EV market. It demonstrates how innovative, locally tailored solutions, supported by accessible financing, can drive significant economic and environmental progress.
Riders using lithium-ion batteries in their electric boda bodas save approximately 30% compared to fuel costs. Previously earning between 30K and 40K UGX per day, riders can now make 70K to 90K UGX, thanks to these savings. With a swap costing 5,000 UGX compared to 15,000 UGX for fuel, riders typically need just one swap per day, and at most two, significantly reducing their operational costs.
A key service enabling this ecosystem is of course GOGO’s battery swap network which supports riders to conveniently recharge by swapping batteries, thereby enhancing the practicality of electric vehicles. GOGO says since its establishment in 2019, the company has been at the forefront of sustainable transportation solutions in East Africa. Recognizing the critical role of the boda boda sector in Ugandan transportation, GOGO has been dedicated to building affordable, efficient, and environmentally friendly electric two-wheelers specifically tailored to the unique needs of Ugandan riders.
“Our journey began with the understanding that the successful transition to EVs in Uganda required addressing the specific challenges of the boda boda market,” says Jakob Hornbach, CEO of GOGO, previously known as Bodawerk LTD. “We focused on creating durable, long-range bikes with swappable batteries to eliminate concerns about range anxiety and charging time. Complementing this, we have significantly expanded our network of battery swap stations, now exceeding 66 locations across major cities, including Kampala, Jinja, Iganga, Luwero, and Mukono. This expansion is pivotal in ensuring our riders can easily keep their bikes operational for long hours.”
Here are some of the key spec of GOGO’S EV150 electric motorcycle:
- Battery Pack: 4kWh (NMC)
- Motor Power: 2000 kW
- Range: 120km
GOGO says this model is known for its 120 km range on a single charge, which is a strength compared to other EV bike manufacturers in East Africa, ideally suited for navigating the bustling streets of Kampala, Uganda. The swappable battery system enables riders to exchange depleted batteries for fully charged ones in under two minutes, ensuring minimal downtime and enhanced productivity.
Watu’s innovative financing solutions have made electric boda bodas accessible to a broader range of riders by offering flexible payment plans, often with down payments below $100. This financial model, combined with the lower operating costs of EVs, has empowered many Ugandan riders to improve their livelihoods while contributing to a cleaner environment. Watu says its work extends beyond Uganda. Its commitment to financial inclusion and community empowerment has led to the provision of over 600,000 loans for two- and three-wheelers across Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria, impacting over 3.6 million people. This approach has fueled the growth of the boda boda sector in Uganda and fostered economic development across the continent. GOGO and Watu have now committed to further expanding their reach, introducing new electric vehicle models, and exploring partnerships to advance their mission of sustainable transportation. Their ambition extends beyond Uganda, aiming to replicate this success in other markets across Africa.
Images courtesy of GOGO
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