It was unimaginable some years back that Electric Automobiles (EVs) could be a viable option to conventional fossil fuel vehicles.
Electric vehicles were primarily used for research and development at the time, and the handful that did make it onto the roads were so unaffordable that they were only available to the wealthy.
The good news is that these vehicles are now sharing the road alongside gas vehicles, thanks to technology developments, evolving policies, and the increasing popularity of EV manufacturers. And it’s already being seen as the future of transportation in some areas.
BasiGo, a Kenyan electric vehicle technology and financing firm introducing electric bus services to Sub-Saharan Africa, has acquired a seed funding round of US$4.3 million to enable it to commercialize its business model and commence local assembly of electric buses.
BasiGo began operations in Nairobi previously this year after securing KES100 million (US$900,000) in investment.
The company offers state-of-the-art electric buses to transport companies, as well as charging and maintenance services, making these automobiles more inexpensive through a funding model that enables operators to pay for the battery and charge independently from the bus via a pay-as-you-go financing arrangement.
Novastar Ventures led the US$4.3 million seed round, which included investment from Moxxie Ventures, Nimble Partners, Spring Ventures, Climate Capital, and Third Derivative, among others.
BasiGo will utilize the money to start selling and delivering electric buses this year, as well as assembling them locally in Kenya.
BasiGo will sell electric buses to bus companies via its “pay-as-you-drive” finance program, which allows public bus companies to buy an electric vehicle for the same upfront cost as a diesel bus.
BasiGo wants to deploy over 1,000 locally made electric buses in Nairobi over the next five years using this model.
In most of Africa, electric vehicles are still uncommon; the chances of discovering one are roughly once in a blue moon.
Only 1,000 of Africa’s more than 12 million cars are electric vehicles. In most other African countries, even fewer electric automobiles are in use.
This is due to the fact that used cars are the most popular. The continent’s leading EV market still remains South Africa, but celebrations are in place as other countries in Africa are taking the cue.
Things may, however, change for the better. Unlike in Europe, where government policies force automakers to embrace more environmentally friendly solutions such as electric vehicles, African governments are more permissive.
Cape Verde, for example, has made steps to phase out the sale of internal combustion engine vehicles, with the goal of eliminating such imports by 2035. Kenya has followed suit, attracting the attention of potential investors.
BasiGo has delivered two 25-seat electric buses to Kenya, which are currently being tested in Nairobi for performance and dependability. Next month, these buses will go into experimental service with a few bus companies in Nairobi.
BasiGo has also opened a cutting-edge charging and maintenance facility for electric buses near Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
Each BasiGo electric bus helps to minimize air pollution and climate-warming emissions caused by Kenya’s diesel buses by leveraging the fact that 73 percent of Kenya’s electricity originates from renewable sources.
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