Posted on Thursday, December 2, 2021
From the Cape to Cairo, green tech start-ups are leading Africa’s charge towards electric mobility, a critical intervention in the fight against climate change driven by a global tide in the use of electric vehicles (EVs). However, the continent’s shift to electric mobility lags behind Europe, the US and China, the global frontrunners in electric mobility.
South Africa sold only 92 battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in 2020, down from 154 in 2019, representing 0.02% of domestic vehicle sales. Hybrid sales declined from 253 units in 2019 to 232 units in 2020.
Nonetheless, several countries are developing comprehensive policy frameworks to catalyse the transition and adoption of electric mobility.
Agilitee Africa, the South Africa-based electric vehicles manufacturer, has set up shop in Nairobi as part of its expansion plan to the East African region. Dr Mandla Lamba, the firm's Chief Executive Officer revealed that the company will be investing Sh111.2 million in its Nairobi-based subsidiary - Agilitee East Africa.
“We are planning to officially launch our operations in Kenya in early December this year. At the moment we are marketing our products and the response is very positive,” said Dr Lamba.
In a notice published this week, the firm said it has been granted a certificate to operate in Kenya. The Nairobi subsidiary offices will also be its headquarters for East African.
Dr Lamba also pointed out that “Kenya is like the rest of the world headed to using electric cars and motorbikes to curb environmental pollution from petroleum fuels and one company is at the forefront of driving the change. Electric cars are already on the Kenyan roads and the infrastructure to support them is gradually building up.”
It has also set up a base in West Africa with its headquarters in Nigeria. In Zimbabwe, there are plans to establish an assembly plant for cars, electric motorcycles, and scooters.
“We intend to penetrate into all parts of Africa. We will in the long run set up assembly plants in some countries," said Lamba.
He added: “Most African governments have not entirely adopted the use of electric vehicles but we will educate our people on their benefits.”
Lamba said that even in South Africa, there were people who still do not believe it is impossible to drive a car without using petrol.
“We are optimistic that because the market is there. Kenya is one of the countries at the forefront in the campaign for clean energy and therein lies the market,” he said.
Agilite electric vehicles do not rely on the grid to be charged as they are powered by solar and have a backup battery.
Kenya is one of the biggest markets for second-hand vehicles imported mainly from Japan and which have been blamed for emitting higher levels of carbon dioxide.
Lamba added that their technology can reduce emissions that contribute to climate change and smog, improve public health and reduce ecological damage.
Author: Rading Biko