Kenya & European Commission Sign €348 Million Financing Agreement For Electric Bus Rapid Lane

Kenya and the European Commission have reached an agreement for a €347.6 million financing arrangement for East Africa’s first dedicated electric bus rapid lane. The agreement was signed during a meeting between President William Ruto and the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, at the European Commission Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.

President Ruto reiterated Kenya’s commitment to a green transition, which is in line with the country’s climate change mitigation plan. The Green Mobility-Nairobi core bus rapid transit line 3 (BRT3) will use zero emission electric buses and will also incorporate intelligent transport management systems and ensure affordable fares to facilitate inclusive access to modern public transport services.

The agreement was signed by Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Kipchumba Murkomen, and the European Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen. For this project, the deal will include a grant component from the EU, financing from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the French Development Agency (AFD) as well as funding from the Kenyan Government. I will be on the lookout for more information on the progress of this project.

This is a very welcome development. Electric buses are one of the best ways to accelerate access to cleaner mobility for the majority of the population. During his inauguration last year, President Ruto reaffirmed Kenya’s commitment to transition to 100% clean energy by 2030. It’s great to see his administration continuing to push for projects in this area. Kenya has a big opportunity to lead in the transition to electric mobility.

There are already two companies that are very active in the electric bus space in Kenya. BasiGo has quickly made inroads over the past year in Kenya with its innovative Pay-as-You-Drive program that allows owners to purchase the BYD K6 electric bus without having to pay for the battery technology. The cost of the battery is then bundled into a subscription program. This makes the upfront cost of the K6 bus similar to a traditional diesel bus in the same class. BasiGo has already partnered with several large operators in Nairobi and has several buses on the road on various routes in Nairobi. BasiGo plans to supply over 1,000 locally manufactured electric buses to transport operators in Kenya over the next three years.

Roam is also helping to drive Kenya’s transition to electric mobility in the mass transit sector. Last year, Roam unveiled its high capacity bus, the Roam Rapid, which has also been deployed on several routes in Nairobi.

Roam Rapid Mass Transit Specifications:

  • Battery capacity: 384 kWh
  • Range: 360 km
  • Dimensions (LxHxW): 12500 x 3300 x 2550 mm
  • Top speed: 70 km/h
  • Seat capacity: 77 passengers
  • Weight: 18,000 kg
  • Fastest charging time: 2 h
  • DC fast charging

The transport sector is one of the major contributors to Kenya’s greenhouse gas emissions. 18% of Kenya’s total greenhouse gas emissions are from the transport sector. About 40% of CO2 emissions are from the transport sector. Respiratory system diseases are some of the leading causes of morbidity, at 25% of all disease incidences in Kenya. In a bid to reduce emissions, Kenya’s updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) aims to abate 32% of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) relative to the business as usual scenario of 143 MtCO2eq. Accelerating the adoption of electric mobility will be critical to achieving this. It is really great to see all these developments in Kenya’s electric bus sector.

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