Bolt Partners With M-KOPA To Launch Electric Motorcycle Fleet In Kenya — Will Deploy 5,000 Electric Motorcycles Within 3 Years

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Bolt, a leading on-demand mobility company in Africa, in collaboration with M-KOPA, a leading African fintech platform, today announced the launch of its electric bike fleet in Kenya. Through this partnership, new and existing drivers will have the opportunity to lease ROAM and Ampersand electric motorbikes at a discounted price in comparison to the current market rates. Bolt says this strategic move marks a significant step in Bolt’s commitment to enhance driver earnings through the reduction of operational costs in the market, as well as a move towards eco-friendly urban mobility, aligning with global efforts to combat climate change. Bolt is active in:

  • Ride-hailing
  • Bolt Food, delivering ready-made meals from restaurants
  • Bolt Business, a corporate mobility service

The new initiative will see 5,000 electric motorcycles being rolled out within the next three years. Bolt says the rollout aligns with the recent launch of Kenya’s National E-mobility Policy, aimed at promoting local production and assembly of EVs. With zero tailpipe emissions and lower maintenance requirements compared to traditional vehicles, these electric bikes offer a cost-effective alternative for drivers, enabling them to maximise their earnings while minimising expenses.

From Left, Caroline Wanjihia, Bolt Regional Director, Africa, David Damberger, Managing Director — M-KOPA Mobility, Mikael Gånge, CCO, ROAM, Ken Onyango, Chair, Nairobi Transport Committee and Evaline Wawuda, Sales Coordinator, ROAM, during Bolt’s launch of the electric motorbikes in Nairobi. Image Courtesy of Bolt.

Through this collaboration, Bolt will leverage M-KOPA’s fintech platform to make electric motorbike ownership affordable, by substantially reducing the expenses associated with electric motorbikes for drivers. This approach is expected to lead to approximately 40% savings in total ownership costs compared to petrol motorbikes. By subsidising the cost of the vehicle, Bolt enables drivers to choose an electric motorbike at a price equal to or below that of a comparable petrol alternative. With reduced energy and maintenance expenditures, drivers can potentially decrease their vehicle operating costs by up to 75%. Riders on the Bolt platform will be able to access an electric bike for as low as KES 10,000–15,000, through vehicle financing, enabled by the partnership between M-KOPA, ROAM, and Ampersand. M-KOPA is Kenya’s largest financier of electric motorbikes, having already financed approximately two-thirds of the electric bikes on Kenya’s roads.

Here are some statements from key people involved in this collaboration:

Caroline Weichai, Regional Director of RideHailing Operations, Africa & International Markets, said: “We are excited to introduce our electric bike fleet, in partnership with M-KOPA, as part of our ongoing efforts to support and empower our drivers. This marks a significant milestone in Bolt’s mission to provide sustainable and financially viable transportation solutions in Kenya. By leveraging electric vehicles, we are not only reducing our environmental footprint, but also aim to enhance driver earnings and improve overall economic stability within the communities that we serve. Considering all financial incentives and reduced operating costs, drivers participating in this pilot launch could see significantly increased daily earnings compared to petrol motorcycles. This initiative underscores our commitment to driving positive change and fostering economic empowerment within our driver community.”

David Damberger, Managing Director of M-KOPA Mobility, added: “As the leading financier of electric motorbikes in Kenya, we’re committed to redefining mobility in Kenya through affordable financing solutions for electric motorbikes, particularly for the underbanked. Partnering with Bolt represents a significant leap towards this goal, enabling us to broaden our reach and support more customers in transitioning to sustainable transport solutions. Already, we have made substantial inroads since launching our Mobility division in 2022, in collaboration with ROAM and Ampersand. With over 2 million motorbikes navigating Kenya’s roads, now is the time for us to extend our reach, as we set to positively impact the environment significantly by reducing carbon emissions and saving on fuel costs — an essential keystone of Kenya’s sustainable development.”

Mikael Gånge, CCO of ROAM, said: “Our at-home and portable charging options, extensive Roam Hub service network, and dual battery system empower delivery riders to increase efficiency without worrying about battery depletion. Through this strategic partnership with Bolt, we’re not only promoting sustainability but also cutting operational costs remarkably for Boda riders, making a meaningful impact where it matters most, and creating a better future for all.”

Josh Whale, Founder & CEO of Ampersand E-Mobility Kenya, added: “We thank Bolt and M-KOPA for their enthusiasm and confidence in our market-leading electric vehicles and energy network.  The collaboration between Bolt, M-KOPA and Ampersand is a significant step forward for the ride-hailing and delivery industry in Kenya. Our partnership with Bolt will lead the industry forward by adopting the most commercially scalable structure for E-Mobility and energy providers that we’ve encountered. This saves more money for more motorcycle riders and more end users, and at the same time drives emobility forward at the pace that Kenya’s economy, environment, and the continued habitability of our planet all demand: A more scalable, win-win all round.”

As part of its launch strategy, Bolt will initially deploy the electric bikes in Nairobi, with plans for expansion in the near future. Through strategic partnerships and collaborations with local stakeholders, the company seeks to create a sustainable and inclusive transportation ecosystem that benefits users and the environment. Bolt also introduced a new ride category, dubbed Bolt Green, on its platform. It offers eco-friendly rides as the company moves towards reducing its ecological footprint in Nairobi. The category has hybrid and electric cars to reduce emissions during trips taken on the Bolt platform, thus offering greener transport options. This category expanded Bolt’s ride options, creating more economic opportunities for drivers and providing passengers with more options to choose from.

We are starting to see a lot more activity in Kenya’s nascent electric mobility sector, especially in the electric motorcycle sector. There are over 2 million internal combustion engine motorcycles in Kenya, with most of them being deployed in the motorcycle taxi industry and popularly known as boda bodas. With such a large addressable market, a lot of startups have entered  the sector hoping to help aid the transition to electric mobility in this sector. Partnerships such as this latest one from Bolt and M-KOPA will go a long way in accelerating adoption by lowering the barriers to entry through innovative and flexible digital micropayments for drivers.

Images courtesy of Bolt

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Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai

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.

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