Simba Corp enters EV trade with Kenya Power deal

Simba Corporation Group chief executive Dinesh Kotecha.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Simba Corp has entered the nascent electric vehicle (EV) market, seeking to progressively offer passenger cars and commercial units over the years as the country transitions from vehicles powered by diesel and petrol.

The company recently sold two units of all-electric Mahindra XUV 400 sports utility vehicle (SUV) to Kenya Power at a cost of Sh9 million each.

The dealer is set to deliver four more similar units to the electricity distributor later this year.

 “We have recently introduced our passenger vehicle range from Mahindra, and sales have commenced.

We have received numerous inquiries from prospective customers eagerly awaiting delivery,” said Dinesh Kotecha, the chief executive at Simba Corp.

 The company has been selling petrol and diesel-powered passenger cars and commercial vehicles, holding the local franchises for global automakers Mitsubishi, Mahindra and Proton. Mr Kotecha said Simba’s expansion will include bringing in electric versions of some of the existing internal combustion engine (ICE) models.

“Several brands that we represent in Kenya are preparing to introduce EV solutions, spanning from passenger vehicles to commercial vehicles,” he said.

“Some of these may belong to the same product category, while others may differ slightly. For example, we are working on offering EV Canters from Fuso and the EV Phoenix (equivalent to ICE models) from Ashok Leyland.”

 The parent firms of Simba Corp’s main rivals –Isuzu East Africa and CFAO Kenya— are meanwhile investing heavily in hydrogen technology that they see as a contender in the clean energy race.

 Mr Kotecha saunch of new products depends on favourable government policies, market demand and the speed at which the charging infrastructure is developing in the country.

 The electric Mahindra SUVs that Kenya Power is buying from Simba Corp are part of the utility firm’s strategy to gain insights in the electric vehicle market and develop charging infrastructure to support it.

 Kenya Power announced in April that it will invest Sh258 million over three years to buy electric vehicles and build charging stations, having built such a facility at its headquarters in Parklands, Nairobi.

Mr Kotecha said Simba Corp is also investing in its property and equipment in readiness for a scaled-up electric vehicle sales and support business.

 “We continue making investments in our assembly plant, Associated Vehicle Assemblers (AVA) and in our primary workshops to establish infrastructure capable of safely handling EV unit batteries, diagnostic equipment, personal protective equipment kits, and other necessary tooling,” he said.

Globally, the showroom prices of more models of electric vehicles are falling below that of comparable diesel or petrol-powered units, gradually eroding the cost advantage that traditional cars have held.

Mr Kotecha said that traditional periodic oil change services will become obsolete, and warranty periods will notably extend, especially for the battery which is the core component of an electric vehicle.

PAYE Tax Calculator

Note: The results are not exact but very close to the actual.