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Uber Launches Electric Motorbike Service in Kenya

Ride-hailing firm Uber on Thursday announced the launch of an electric motorbike service in Kenya. It is the first in Africa, as the company seeks to make its global platform emissions-free by 2040 as these bikes have lower vibrations and less sound.

Kagiso Khaole, Uber’s general manager for sub-Saharan Africa said the rollout in Kenya will be followed by a “potential announcement” this year for the rest of its markets in the region. Uber’s other markets in sub-Saharan Africa are Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania and South Africa.

Uber’s latest environmentally friendly offering in Kenya, known as “Electric Boda” in a tribute to the Swahili reference for motorbike taxis, is set to feature 3,000 bikes in its fleet within half a year, constituting nearly one-fifth of the total. This initiative is anticipated to yield a 30-35% reduction in operating expenses for drivers while passengers utilizing the platform will enjoy a 15-20% decrease in fares compared to conventional Uber motorbike rides, according to the company’s announcement.

In Kenya, which generates more than 90% of its power from renewable sources and has been positioning itself as a hub to lead Africa’s shift to green transport, Uber previously carried out small pilots for electric bikes with external partners.

The growth of the electric vehicles market in Africa has been slowed by a lack of adequate electric charging infrastructure and associated equipment. Sensing an opportunity, local firms have been setting up battery-swapping stations in major cities like Nairobi to save drivers time.

Kenya’s President William Ruto said last month that he wanted to see the number of electric motorbikes on the road increase from the current 2,000 to more than 200,000 by the end of 2024. Motorbike transport is a big employer in Kenya, absorbing millions of people who are unable to secure formal jobs.

Source: Innovation Village