200 More Electric Buses For Kenya

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More Electric Buses For Kenya As Roam & County Bus Service (CBS) Partner To Deploy 200 Electric Buses By 2026

The transition to electric mobility is progressing around the world at different rates. Norway is of course the leader when it comes to electric car market share of new vehicle sales. China is the leader when it comes to sales volumes of electric cars as well as electric buses. In Africa, the transition to electric has often been described as potentially similar to the mobile phone revolution in that it could lead to a leapfrog transition where most will jump straight to electric mobility, totally bypassing the internal combustion age. This is mostly due to the severe low levels of motorisation that characterises the current transport landscape in most African countries.

The mass transit sector is one area that could see a rapid transition to electric in some markets in Africa. Kenya is an example of one such market, especially in the 30- to 50-seat intracity bus sector. Looking at the current ecosystem, over the last few years, 6,370 buses have been sold in Kenya (from 2018 to 2022), at an average of 1,274 a year.

Internal combustion engine (ICE) bus sales in Kenya from 2018 to 2022.
Historical internal combustion engine bus data from KNBS. Data is for buses with seating capacity of 25 or higher. Excludes the smaller minibuses/smaller matatus.

From this data, one can see that the introduction of a couple of hundred electric buses per year can really have a huge impact and supercharge the market share of electric buses in Kenya in the new bus sales charts. A Nairobi-based firm is already making progress with its plans to introduce several hundred electric buses in Kenya per year, which could see the share of electric buses per year quickly grow to almost 16% per year.

In another exciting development for Kenya’s electric bus sector, Roam has joined forces with County Bus Service (CBS), a leading public transport operator, to introduce 10 electric buses by the close of 2024, with the ambition of having 200 electric buses operational across Kenya by the end of 2026. This landmark collaboration marks a significant step towards revolutionizing the commuter experience within Kenya’s public transportation network. CBS, renowned for its commitment to transforming public transportation in Kenya, has already integrated Roam buses into its fleet over the past four months, gaining invaluable operational insights. To support this endeavour, Roam will establish charging depots to meet the charging requirements. Roam says its electric buses are distinguished by their affordability, reducing operational costs by more than 50%, and for offering greater comfort and convenience.

Roam buses are designed and manufactured in Kenya, enabling benefits from a localized manufacturing approach, and facilitating rapid improvements and innovation. Furthermore, Roam has collaborated with financiers to offer an asset finance facility, enabling CBS to assume ownership of the vehicles. This financing model not only ensures immediate profitability for CBS but also has the lowest total cost of ownership compared to alternative business models available in the market.

Felix Eningsjo, Regional Sales Executive at Roam, commented, “We are thrilled to collaborate with CBS in deploying Roam electric buses and charging infrastructure. This partnership not only expands access to electric buses but also underscores our commitment to promote sustainable transport solutions into everyday life.”

“We are proud to be the inaugural local transport company to embark on this transformative project, offering clean, efficient, and affordable transportation solutions. This symbiotic relationship is poised to deliver exceptional value to both parties, and we are dedicated to ensuring customer satisfaction,” Hon. Jessee Wanyeki, Chairman at CBS, remarked. “Maintaining consistent fare prices will now be achievable for transport operators, empowering passengers to anticipate fares reliably, unlike previous scenarios influenced by fluctuations in fuel prices.”

Here are some of the routes where CBS buses are usually deployed:

  • Limuru–Utawala and back
  • Kamulu–Kaberia and back
  • Juja–Kitengela and back

Some of the first routes that will get electric buses for CBS will be the routes that go to the central business district as well as other express routes.

Here are the specs of the Roam Move electric bus:

  • Battery capacity: 170 kWh
  • Seat capacity: Up to 51 passengers
  • Range: 200 km fully loaded
  • Top speed: 80 km/h
  • Dimensions (LxHxW): 9500×2500×3200 mm
  • Weight: 13,500 kg
  • Fastest charging time: 1.5 hrs
  • Door system: 1 main passenger door + driver door
  • Price: US$135,000

Images courtesy of Roam

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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.

Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai has 777 posts and counting. See all posts by Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai