Meta Electric; a business unit of Meta Group Africa has today launched Kenya’s first Electric service delivery vans just hours after Uber announced the launch of electric motorcycles for its UberBoda fleet.
The BYD T3 Electric Vans (EVs) are manufactured by Build Your Dreams (BYD), the largest Chinese supplier of rechargeable batteries in the world. In a bid to promote greener transportation and pave the way for investment in the electric vehicle industry. Though Meta is the first to launch electric vans, various firms are on the lead with electric motorcycle bodas in Kenya including Ecobodaa which recently raised an investment round for expansion.
Apart from Ecobodaa, there is also Stimaboda which aims to provide a charging service for electric moto-taxis in Kenya and enable moto-taxi drivers to switch to electric motorcycles, and benefit from lower fuel costs. Rwanda’s Ampersand plans to begin trials of its electric motorcycle taxi (e-Moto) services in Rwanda after 2.5 years of research and development. Uganda’s Zen.bo cannot be ignored. Bodawerk, a Ugandan-based engineering, and innovations company also aims to professionalize and commercialize existing prototypes to build innovations to problems for people at the ‘bottom of the pyramid’ in Uganda.
The T3 Electric vans come with an AC charger (8 hours charging time) and an optional DC charger (1.5 hours) and has a range of 300km, or 250km at full capacity. The engine is silent with exceptionally high torque meaning the vehicle moves from stationary almost instantly, even with heavy loads in the back of the vehicle.
“Owning and driving the T3 Electric van is indeed a bold statement for any company especially in Kenya. EV’s help save on major costs compared to any internal combustion engine vehicle. They greatly reduce operating expenses as they beat the diesel competition hands down costing less than half for fuel, Service, maintenance and repairs at very reasonable mileage. In addition EV’s are zero-emission thus promoting cleaner air and aiding in the fight against pollution and climate change,” says Brian Chege, General Manager for META Electric.
Transport Company Neo Kenya Mpya, one of Nairobi’s biggest public bus operators will use the EV’S in trials for different electric solutions. “We are optimistic that META Electric T3 Vans will play a part in reducing the huge proportion of greenhouse gasses that comes from passenger transport. We must all work together with Government to improve planning of city roads, terminus and parking spaces so that EVs can seamlessly substitute diesel-powered vehicles. Our goal is that at least ten percent of our fleet is powered sustainably by 2025, Said Douglas Kuria, CEO of Neo Kenya Mpya Limited.
META Group Africa wants to become a leading supplier of these electric commercial vehicles and plans to both sell and lease units to the East African market and to customers who want to make the switch to cleaner transportation. As the costs of production reduce over time, the case to switch over to electric mobility becomes more and more compelling thus driving the total cost of ownership for electric vehicles considerably lower than those of internal combustion engines.
The African Sustainable Transport Forum, led by the UN, is working with the government and private sector to integrate sustainable transport into the region’s development and planning processes, and to increase the amount of funding going to sustainable transport in Africa. The country’s vehicle fleet is set to double between 2016 and 2023 so switching to electric mobility will be essential for public health and limiting environmental damage.