Bus operators will be some of the biggest winners in the switch to electric vehicles (EVs) with daily savings of up to Sh8,600 or 66 percent compared to diesel-powered engines for a 260-kilometre journey.
Simulations by the energy regulator show an electric bus uses an average of 115-kilowatt hours (kWh) for a 260-kilometre trip at a cost of Sh4,440, compared to Sh13,064 for 65 litres that a diesel-powered bus would use.
The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority’s (Epra) figures are based on current prices in Nairobi where a litre of diesel and Super petrol is at a record high of Sh200.99 and Sh211.64 respectively.
With pump prices expected to remain on the rise in the coming months, electricity-powered vehicles have emerged as an option with their popularity rising since last year.
The State has been pushing for the clean mobility shift in a bid to stem pollution caused by fossil fuels in what will also hand Kenya Power a major lift in its electricity sales.
“Electric mobility has the potential to increase electricity consumption ensuring the utilisation of the idle capacity during the off-peak period,” Energy Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir said.
“Electric vehicles (Evs) will tap into this energy during off-peak hours and the e-mobility tariff already incentivises EVs to do so with a lower rate compared to that of peak-hours charging.”
Mr Chirchir early last month warned that pump prices will keep rising in the coming months amid a global rally in prices of refined fuel and a sharply falling shilling, an announcement that looks set to fuel the shift to electric mobility.
Epra’s simulations show that an electric car needs 36kWh for 240 kilometres at a cost of Sh1,418.51 compared to Sh3,069.36 while using Super petrol of 14.55 litres.
Motorcycle operators, popular as boda bodas, need Sh234.72 to buy 5kWh for a 190-kilometre journey, compared to Sh804.23 for buying a Super petrol-powered for the same journey, translating to cost savings of Sh569.
But despite the cost savings, PSV operators cite the high prices of electric vehicles and the uncertainty on the maintenance costs as hindrances.
An e-bus costs at least Sh5.8 million inclusive of taxes. This is in addition to a subscription fee of Sh20 per kilometre for charging infrastructure and maintenance.
Epra’s estimates are based on off-peak and peak tariffs that are Sh16 and Sh8 respectively for charging up to 5,000 kWh. The tariffs took effect in April.
Official data shows that there were 1,350 electric-powered cars, buses, three-wheelers and motorcycles on Kenyan roads as at February this year. This included 186 electric motor vehicles, 153 three-wheelers and 844 motorcycles.