Kenyan-Swedesh Electric Vehicle (EV) startup Opibus has officially released its first electric bus on Kenyan roads. Opibus initially announced plans to roll out electric public transport buses last year when it raised Ksh. 852 million (USD 7.5 million) in a pre-Series A round. Opibus is currently running a pilot programme in readiness for the commercial launch of EV buses in Kenya later this year, and across Africa by the end of 2023.
Over the last 5 years, Opibus has been in the business of future-proofing existing gasoline and diesel vehicles by converting them to electric vehicles. EVs come with a range of benefits, including a reduced cost of transport and no carbon emissions. The startup, which was founded in 2017 by Filip Gardler, Filip Lövström and Mikael Gånge, has so far converted more than 170 vehicles for different clients including mining companies and tour firms.
The startup is now eyeing the rest of Africa through partnerships that will drive the adoption of EVs across the continent. For example, Uber’s partnership with Opibus, which was announced last month will see the deployment of up to 3,000 electric motorcycles, manufactured by the startup, across Africa by 2022. Motorcycles under Uber are used as taxis and for deliveries in its various markets.
The EV sector in Kenya is budding and has over the recent years attracted new players including BasiGo, which launched in Kenya in November last year. BasiGo, which recently imported two EV mass transport buses for its pilot, plans to sell locally assembled electric buses using parts from China’s EV maker BYD Automotive.