E-motorcycle firms bet on asset finance

Workers at Car and General Motorbikes Assembly Plant in Nakuru. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Electric motorcycle companies are leveraging partnerships with lenders specialising in asset finance to drive sales in Kenya targeting boda boda riders.

Swedish-Kenyan technology company Roam has partnered with M-KOPA to deliver a fleet of motorcycles by the end of 2022 in time for mass deployment in early 2023.

ARC Ride Kenya which launched a plant in Kenya producing 500 two and three-wheeled electric scooters and bikes each month also partnered with M-KOPA and Watu Credit to be able to offer the product through flexible financing terms.

Kenya and the region are rapidly catching up on electric mobility but cost remains a big obstacle to abandoning fossil fuels for clean energy.

Manufacturers are turning to asset finance companies that offer flexible "pay as you go" terms that allow riders to acquire the units and pay as they earn an income.

Roam said that by combining the power of digital micropayments with the Internet-of-Things (IoT) technology, M-KOPA enables underbanked customers to access a broad range of products and services without collateral.

“M-KOPA will aid in the deployment of the motorcycles through its innovative ‘Pay-As-You-Go’ model, which allows customers instant access to products while building ownership over time through flexible micro-payments,” said Mikael Gånge, co-founder and chief commercial officer, Roam.

Kenya is racing against time to catch up with the rest of the world in the shift to clean mobility in efforts to reduce pollution of the environment.

The country has more than 1,000 low-carbon emission vehicles with dealers expecting an increase due to the high cost of fuel.

Recent geopolitical tensions in Europe following Russia's war in Ukraine have seen fuel prices spike out of reach for most motorists.

Car and General (C&G) in January announced that it will start selling electric vehicles and tuk-tuks as part of a plan to diversify into the ‘green’ mobility business that is expected to grow amid a push to address climate change and pollution.

Kenyan electric vehicle start-up BasiGo raised $4.3 million in seed funding and has launched a Sh5 million passenger electric bus in anticipation of increased demand for environmentally friendly transport.

The 25-seater bus, which is designed by the world’s largest manufacturer of electric buses BYD Automotive, has a 250-kilometre range with a recharging period of fewer than four hours.

Buyers will also be subjected to a daily subscription fee of Sh20 per kilometre to cover the cost of leasing the battery, nightly charging at a BasiGo depot as well as service and maintenance for the buses.

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