Startup ARC Ride to assemble electric motorcycles in Nairobi


ARC Ride CEO Joseph Hurst-Croft during the launch of the zoom motorbike and automated battery swap station at Kmall, Nairobi on June 26, 2023. PHOTO | LUCY WANJIRU | NMG

E-mobility provider ARC Ride is set to start assembling electric motorcycles in Nairobi backed by an undisclosed funding from asset financing firm Watu Credit Limited.

This will see it rival players such as Roam whose assembly plant was unveiled slightly over a month ago by President William Ruto.

ARC Ride is an electric mobility start-up that builds electric motors and runs a Battery-as-a-Service business in Nairobi.

Read: Roam opens a 50000 electric bike assembly plant in Kenya

In a statement on Wednesday, Watu Credit indicated that ARC will fetch auto parts from Japanese global manufacturer Musashi Seimitsu Industry, with an aim to release at least 1,000 electric bikes to the local market by the end of next year.

ARC is also set to establish more than 300 battery swap stations around viable Nairobi neighbourhoods, with 76 having been set up in among other locations Eastlands, Ngong Road, Githurai, Westlands, Kiambu Road, Kebete, Mombasa Road and Thika Highway.

Accelerate uptake

Watu Credit has in recent years been providing credit facilities to both assemblers and merchants to accelerate the uptake of electric bikes.

The lending firm is 29 percent owned by diversified trading firm Car & General (C&G) which also deals in e-mobility products including the TVS brand for bikes and Piaggio for tuk-tuks.

‘’As Watu, we strongly believe that electric mobility is the future. In recognition of the fact that coming up with the next EV for the African market is an expensive venture, we started investing in ARC Ride to help them in their research and innovation and delivery of bikes responsive to the African market to the ground,‘’ said Watu country manager Erick Massawe.

The announcement comes at a time when analysts are forecasting the growth of Africa’s e-mobility ecosystem, with Kenya and South Africa leading the pack.

Read: Electric mobility firm Roam steps up motorcycle assembly

According to research firm Mordor Intelligence, Africa’s electric mobility market was valued at $11.94 billion in 2021 (Sh1.8 trillion in current exchange rates) and is projected to reach $21.39 billion (Sh3.1 trillion) by 2027, translating to a compounded annual growth rate of 10.2 percent.

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