Roam to set up electric car charging stations at QuickMart outlets

motorcycle battery

Rider Ezra Kipkemboi inspects the battery system of an electric motorcycle, during the launch of Africa's first electric service station for the electric motorcycles, the Roam hub, on May 26, 2023 in Nairobi. 

Photo credit: File | AFP

Swedish-Kenyan electric vehicles firm Roam has inked a deal with supermarket chain QuickMart to put up charging stations at the retailer’s outlets across the country.

In a statement on Thursday, Roam, which was founded in 2017, said the charging stations would enable electric motorcycle riders to charge their batteries while on the go.

The company currently has four charging stations in Nairobi, which it says have handled sold more than 10 megawatt-hours (MWh) and powered more than 250,000 kilometres of travel.

The initial phase will see the installation of charging stations in select locations where QuickMart has an outlet, with plans to expand to additional stores in the coming months.

QuickMart has been on an aggressive expansion spree in recent years and has grown its branch network to 60 branches in 16 counties.

"We are thrilled to collaborate with QuickMart to bring the Roam Hub Charging Centre to their premises. This partnership not only enhances the accessibility of electric vehicle charging but also aligns with our commitment to integrating sustainable solutions into everyday life," said Habib Lukaya, the energy and charging product manager at Roam.

This comes at a time demand for EV charging stations is growing rapidly due to increased uptake of electric vehicles especially motorcycles.

The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) registered a record 2,694 EVs last year, which is a near six-fold increase from the 475 EVs that were registered in the previous year.

This has led to significant power consumption for charging EVs, rising from 29,097 kilowatt-hours (kWh) in July 2023 to 75,729kWh in December 2023.

Roam is one of the leading players in the budding EV market in Kenya and on the African continent, with various firms carving out their own niche to attract customers. Others include BasiGo, Kiri EV and ARC Ride.

However, lack of sufficient charging infrastructure and the high upfront cost of acquiring EVs are some of the main reasons that have slowed down the uptake of e-mobility, which has been identified as key in cutting carbon emissions.

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