Nairobi Business Venture enters electric motorcycles market

President William Ruto rides an Electric motorcycle. FILE PHOTO | BILLY OGADA | NMG

Nairobi Business Venture (NBV) plans its entry into the local assembly of electric motorcycles, disclosures from the company show.

The firm said in its latest annual report that the assembly will be at its servicing facility in Mlolongo on Mombasa Road.

“We are looking to introduce ourselves in the E-Mobility market by introducing a two-wheeler to start as the whole world is moving in this direction. We are gearing up towards setting up an assembly line at our Mlolongo Base,” says Haresh V Soni, the chief executive officer of NBV, in the annual report.

The listed commercial and services firm at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) deals in manufacturing, aviation, automobile and general trading.

The company will be competing with other firms in the local assembly of electric two-wheelers including Roam to tap bodaboda operators in Nairobi.

Other players in the electric motorcycle market include Kiri EV, Ebee, Amperstand, Arc Ride, Ecobodaa, One Electric from Uber and Stimaboda.

Local motorcycle assemblers enjoy a raft of tax incentives which are aimed at manufacturers to increase local production and export of goods made under the Buy Kenya, Build Kenya initiative.

Data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows the number of newly registered motorcycle units dropped by 41.1 percent from 399,052 in 2021 to 234,879 in 2022.

Their sales had rallied in the previous years due to pent-up demand for the flexible transport that the two-wheelers offer.

Motorcycles are popular with Kenyans seeking to beat traffic jams in congested towns and cities or tackle difficult terrains in rural areas with impassable roads.

They are also popular for the delivery of lightweight goods, including food, shopping, and parcels. Courier firms and technology-enabled delivery platforms are among the major users of motorcycles alongside individuals operating boda boda businesses.

The motorcycle transport sector is now one of the largest employers.

Studies estimate the earnings of the boda boda riders at around Sh1 billion in a day.

More recently, operators of transport businesses using motorcycles have seen their earnings come under pressure in the wake of rising fuel prices and the entry of more riders/investors in the sector.

The shift to electric bikes offers a reprieve from the high petrol costs but comes with other challenges such as the relatively steeper sticker prices compared to petrol-powered units.

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