State to build highway car charging hubs


Bernard Wasike, electrical engineer, Chargenet Kenya, plugs in a car at an EV charging station at ABC Place, Waiyaki Way. FILE PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

The Kenyan government will build electric vehicle charging infrastructure in all urban areas and along the highways from the next financial year as it hopes to supplement the private sector’s bid to accelerate e-mobility.

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung’u says the government will intensify national connectivity through road, rail, port, energy and fibre-optic infrastructure to foster an enabling environment for economic recovery and inclusive growth.

This comes on the back of a growing interest in electric engines in efforts to achieve green transportation aimed at addressing the effects of greenhouse gas emissions.

“The Government will roll out electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure in all urban areas and along the highways and create incentives for adoption of electric mass transit systems in all cities and towns,” he said in the 2023 Budget Policy Statement (BPS).

Kenya is racing against time to catch up with the rest of the world in the shift to clean mobility with scores of automakers and governments announcing they will completely phase out diesel and petrol-powered vehicles by 2040.

The switch to electric mobility has gathered momentum with the entry of electric motorbikes, tuk-tuks, taxis, and the planned buses for the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).

“The government will provide financial and tax incentives for public service vehicles and commercial transporters to convert to electric vehicles,” Prof Ndung’u said.

Car and General (C&G) announced last year it will start selling electric vehicles and tuk-tuks as part of a plan to diversify into the ‘green’ mobility business as its contribution towards managing climate change and pollution.

In Kenya, the transport sector particularly road transportation leads among sources of climate-damaging carbon emissions, attributed to the predominant use of fossil fuels for vehicle propulsion systems.

This has seen manufacturers of traditional petrol/diesel internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles man shift fast their business models to EVs, to protect their overall automobile market shares.

Prof Ndung’u said the government will leverage the financial support that will be provided to the bodaboda sector through the Hustler Fund, to develop the nascent electrical vehicle and motorcycle assembly industry.

He noted accelerating the transition to electric vehicles is a win-win proposition in terms of contributing to Kenyan's emission reduction commitment, cheaper transport, and leveraging on the large local and regional motorcycle market to build an electric vehicle industry.

Kenya Power has already committed to constructing electric charging systems for homes, businesses and the public across the country as the shift to clean transport gathers momentum.

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