Some estimates put the number of motorcycles in use on the African continent at around 20 million. Estimates also say around 5 million of these are in East Africa. Persistent Energy’s Report, titled “A Dozen Markets and Counting, Opportunity For Two Wheel E-Mobility in SSA,” says that three times more motorcycles are imported annually into Sub-Saharan Africa than cars. The majority of these motorcycles are used for commercial purposes, especially in the motorcycle taxi industry. So, motorcycles are a big deal in Africa, which is why the sector is attracting a lot of attention when it comes to electrification.
There are over 30 startups active in the nascent electric motorcycle sector spanning across the various regions on the continent. A lot of these startups have been running pilot programs over the past 3 or so years and are now working to ramp up their operations. Electrification of the motorcycle industry has attracted a lot of attention due to several reasons including:
- A large addressable market. Africa’s fleet of motorcycles is expected to keep growing (motorcycles taxis & rise of the OnDemand and eCommerce sectors)
- It is anticipated that by 2040, 50-70% of all motorbike sales in this market will be electric, or about 4 million electric motorcycles a year.
- Electric motorcycles are closer to price parity with ICE versions, unlike larger vehicles where the upfront purchase price of electric cars is still much higher than equivalent ICE cars.
- Motorcycles are the main source of employment for youth (under 35), and offer an immediate opportunity to transform lives in the sector through lower running costs thereby improving incomes.
- One of the main modes of transport in a lot of regions on the continent and therefore offer a big opportunity to lower CO2 emissions in the transport sector.
- Well established financing platforms for the motorcycle sector, unlike in the larger vehicle segments where the vehicle finance is not as developed in most countries.
- Well established Pay-As-You-Earn and PayGo models that help break down the barriers for access. Clients can pay per day or weekly for a period of up to 24 months for a motorcycle. Clients can ride away with a brand new motorcycle in less than two hours in some markets after signing up.
- The continued growth of the FinTech sector coupled with the Pay-As-You-Go models and mobile money platforms can be major growth drivers for the motorcycle sector through scalable and flexible vehicle financing ecosystems.
To unlock all this potential, key partnerships between electric mobility firms and players in the fintech space and as well as the rest of the ecosystem are critical. In some exciting news for the electric motorcycle sector, Bboxx, a super platform providing access to essential products and services, and Ampersand, an e-mobility company delivering sustainable transport solutions in East Africa, have partnered to expand Ampersand’s e-mobility scheme in Rwanda.
Following a successful initial pilot in the country, the scheme is now being launched in Kigali, Africa’s greenest city, and will eventually see the provision of tens of thousands e-motos (electric motorcycles) to taxi drivers in Rwanda over the coming years.
The e-motos will be financed by Bboxx using its unique asset financing AI model, and with mobile payments managed using Bboxx’s Pulse©, a fully integrated operating system that streamlines Bboxx’s business operations. Ampersand will provide the e-motos and battery swaps.
The pilot is designed to allow taxi drivers in the capital to use the motorbikes for their commercial activities at a lower daily cost than with petrol vehicles, an alternative option that could prove to be 40% more profitable, according to Ampersand’s data. Through joining forces, the partners have the longer-term aim of delivering millions of e-motos to the roads of Africa, providing much needed clean mobility solutions in Africa’s rapidly expanding urban centers.
Mansoor Hamayun, CEO and Co-Founder of Bboxx, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for Bboxx, and we are delighted to be partnering with a like-minded company such as Ampersand to increase access to sustainable mobility across Africa. E-mobility has been a key business priority area that we have been looking to move into for some time, so it’s great to finally achieve this milestone. Ampersand has shown terrific innovation in their business so far and more importantly, share the same core goals of transforming lives and unlocking potential in our quest to reach all of the UN’s SDGs.”
Josh Whale, CEO of Ampersand, said: “Electrifying African transport will take everyone doing what they do best. Bboxx brings the e-mobility revolution decades of experience in bringing pay-as-you-go financing to Rwandans at scale and brings a different choice and approach to the financing options available to our customers. Over half of all East Africa’s road traffic is made up of motorbike taxis, providing a vital and affordable public transport service and source of employment in both urban and rural areas. And nearly all motorbike taxi drivers require financing to acquire their vehicles, and our electric motorbikes are no exception. We’re also excited by Bboxx’s deep experience in structuring financing instruments in smart ways to tap into international capital markets, including the growing wave of climate capital. All this frees up Ampersand to focus on what we do best: Building batteries, expanding our swap network, building software, and building motorbikes – and doing all of this more and better every year. With strategic partnerships like this collaboration with Bboxx, we can help Rwanda to become the world’s first country to electrify more than half their entire road traffic, closely followed by other African countries, and ahead of countries like Norway.”
Ampersand has been operating in Rwanda for close to five years and has thus far provided hundreds of electric motorcycles, along with swap stations and charging infrastructure to Kigali, while also expanding their network to Nairobi in neighboring Kenya.
The move is Bboxx’s latest expansion into a new commercial sector, providing a range of essential goods and services that are clean and sustainable. Bboxx already provides solar energy home systems, clean cooking goods, and solar-powered water pumps, with business operations managed using Bboxx Pulse©.
Images from Bboxx
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