BasiGo gets Sh395m to scale up electric buses output

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An electric bus belonging to BasiGo parked next to Buruburu charging station on August 10, 2023. PHOTO | POOL

BasiGo has received $3 million (Sh394.5 million) in equity funding from CFAO Group, a mobility industry player wholly owned by Japan-based Toyota Tsusho Corporation, to ramp up the assembly and delivery of electric buses in the local market and Rwanda.

The capital injection is split between CFAO Kenya and Mobility54, the corporate venture capital arm of CFAO.

“We are honoured to have CFAO as our partner in the electrification of public transport in Africa. As a leader in both the energy and mobility industry in Africa, CFAO recognises the extraordinary opportunity for electric mobility to transform African economies,” said BasiGo co-Founder and CEO Jit Bhattacharya.

“With CFAO’s strength and experience in the mobility industry, customers/operators can trust that BasiGo is ready to deliver competitive, high-quality e-bus solutions at scale.”

The investment adds to the Sh804.5 million that BasiGo received from venture capitalists in Silicon Valley in 2022 to aid in the launch of local assembly of electric buses and charging infrastructure, before bagging another round of $5 million (Sh660 million at current exchange rates) in debt funding last year from a UK investor to ramp up local assembling of the buses.

The Kenyan electric mobility startup BasiGo, which started rolling out the locally assembled buses in 2022 in partnership with the Kenya Vehicle Manufacturers (KVM), has deployed at least 19 electric buses across various routes in Nairobi and aims to grow the fleet to 1,000 buses across Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania in the next three years.

The company says it has already received over 500 reservations from bus operators in Nairobi and an additional 100 reservations from bus operators in Kigali.

The startup runs the Pay-As-You-Drive financing model which is a mileage-based lease that eliminates the high upfront cost of an electric bus for operators.

As part of CFAO’s investment, the two companies have announced that they will jointly explore the expansion of BasiGo’s financing model to new classes of commercial electric vehicles.

With operations in over 40 African countries, CFAO boasts a sizeable automotive distribution network. The firm launched its first dealership for BYD electric cars in Kigali, Rwanda earlier this year.

The dealer is also actively building the green mobility ecosystem in the region by investing in e-mobility startup companies through Mobility54.

BasiGo, in recent months, has been caught up in a contest for market share with Swedish-Kenyan electric vehicle firm Roam amid a steadily growing demand for electric-powered cars.

Between February and June last year, the number of electric vehicles and motorcycles in the country increased by 729 units to hit 2,079 up from 1,350, according to data from the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (Epra).

The increase highlighted the rising uptake of EVs, which are seen as offering lower running costs besides clean transport which is key to cutting carbon emissions and slowing climate change.

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