This is coming after Uber successfully ran its pilot program and its partnership with Opibus is to make the deployment of electric motorcycles across Africa seamless.
According to the agreement between both parties, Opibus will supply 3,000 electric motorcycles in 2022 to meet the demand from Uber’s drivers. This is expected to also scale up the operation of Opibus to other countries across the continent.
Opibus motorcycle is the first African electric motorcycle to be fully designed and tailored for the local use case. Its powerful frame and dual swappable battery packs which can be swapped provide a perfect product-market aimed at maximizing local content.
Drivers who use the platform can seamlessly deliver their services to customers with zero-carbon emission motorcycles. The hope is the partnership will lead to carbon reduction while at the same time creating a better environment in cities with less noise, no particle emissions, and lowering carbon emissions globally.
Opibus Co-Founder and Chief Sales Officer, Mikael Gånge, said there is increased demand for locally designed electric motorcycles in Africa.
He said, “By working with Uber we’ve now been able to prove the feasibility for large-scale deployment. Next year we’re scaling up our production to meet the market demand, both in Kenya and in the region.”
The motorcycle industry in Kenya is flourishing, with more than 1.6 million motorcycles registered in the country at a growth rate of 16,500 units on the average of imported motorcycles into the country monthly.
The industry is also the single largest employer in Kenya and is estimated to employ more than 1.2 million youth.
The partnership aligns with Uber’s business to make a switch to fully electric vehicles and become a zero-emission platform by 2040, a move that will push Africa’s technological status if achieved.
Generally, over 600 cities and over 65 countries have access to the Uber network, and it is currently available to sixteen cities in Sub-Saharan Africa namely Lagos, Abuja, Benin City, Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Port Elizabeth, Nairobi, Mombasa, Kampala, Accra, Kumasi, and Dar es Salaam.
General Manager, Uber Sub-Saharan Africa, Frans Hiemstra, had this to say about the partnership, “We are doing our part to help transform mobility in the country by helping to reduce carbon emissions.
Uber is continuously looking for ways to improve the customer experience and we have a responsibility to invest in product innovations that are safe, reliable, durable, environmentally friendly, and have a sustainable impact on drivers and cities. This collaboration with Opibus will do just that.”
The huge number of ICE motorcycles in Kenya is causing high emissions. This has made the country reinforce its commitment to harnessing low-carbon investment opportunities, especially with the country’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the Paris Agreement.
Beyond emissions reduction, the transition to electric motorcycles will help drivers earn better income as there would be reduced maintenance and operating costs when using Opibus motorcycles as compared to traditional ICE motorcycles.
To incentivize transition, high import taxation and fuel prices are being explored, and to further smoothen the transition, Opibus motorcycles will be sold for the same price as fossil fuel-powered motorcycles.