Kenya Power has announced plans to phase out petrol and diesel-powered vehicles and motorbikes from its fleet in favour of electric ones as the country’s shift to clean transport gathers momentum.
The State-owned power utility has set aside Sh40 million this financial year to purchase three electric vehicles that include two pick-ups and one four-wheel drive on a pilot basis.
Part of the kitty will also be used in the construction of three vehicle-charging stations within Nairobi for the company’s use and for demonstration.
Kenya Power acting managing director Geoffrey Muli said the company will, in the medium term, purchase 50 long-range electric bikes as part of its larger plan to phase out fuel-powered motorbikes within its fleet.
“Kenya Power intends to substantially reduce its carbon footprint by purchasing more e-vehicles in the near future, including two-wheelers and three-wheelers. We must play our rightful role to combat global warming by championing mitigation measures such as adoption of electric motorisation,” said Mr Muli.
He spoke at the Swedish Embassy during the launch of electric motorbikes by Roam Motors.
Kenya Power recently finished piloting 13 electric bikes in partnership with the Unep that were being used by meter readers and revenue collection teams.
The main challenges, the utility said, have been the unreliability of battery storage and lack of after-sales services from assembling companies.
Roam Motors is assembling electric motorbikes locally with a range of 180 kilometres and using two batteries, with the cost of charging each battery being Sh66.
The electric mobility industry is taking shape within the country with more than 1,000 electric vehicles on local roads. Being a key player in the electricity value chain, Kenya Power is at the centre of the shift to push for clean mobility and reduction of environmental pollution from fossil fuels in Kenya.
“With an installed electricity capacity of 3,077MW and an off-peak load of 1,100MW, Kenya has enough power to support the entire e-mobility ecosystem,” said Mr Muli.
In August, the State utility floated tender inviting bidders to build the infrastructure that would allow customers to pay for electric vehicle charging via M-Pesa and credit cards.
The lack of charging infrastructure for electric vehicles and motorcycles is one of the biggest hurdles standing in the way of Kenya’s shift to clean transport, prompting an August move by Kenya Power to seek a firm to build the system countrywide.
Diesel and petrol-powered transport are estimated to account for a quarter of the global greenhouse emissions.