Special Reports

KenGen takes leader position in e-mobility transition race


Kenya Electricity Generating Company. FILE PHOTO | POOL

In recent years, Kenya has stood out as a regional leader in e-mobility, with investments in electric buses, taxi cabs, and motorcycles. The country also boasts many electric vehicles (EV) charging stations in Nairobi and the counties.

This is in keeping with the race around the world to phase out gasoline and petrol cars and replace them with EVs.

While mass adoption remains a dream in Kenya, the country is doing better than most of its continental peers.

Last month, Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) unveiled the first batch of its fleet of electric vehicles as it leads the way in the transition to e-mobility.

On the global front, Denmark, France, Norway, and The Netherlands currently lead the transition and hope to cease the sale of fossil-fuel-powered vehicles by 2050.

Transport accounts for one-fifth of all carbon emissions globally, with road transport contributing to 75 percent of all emissions in this sector. This is equivalent to three billion metric tonnes, according to the online data platform, Statista.

This is seven times higher than the aviation industry, which contributes about three percent of all emissions in the transport sector.

Proponents of e-mobility argue that the EV revolution is here, arguing that they are one of the most practical solutions to address carbon emissions, especially in private and mass transport.

KenGen’s four cars – two Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) and two double-cabin pickups – will provide it with first-hand experience and aid in ‘‘data collection to inform policy development.’’

‘‘We believe this will catalyse growth in the [e-mobility] sector. This will revolutionise the transport sector as the country embraces the shift to EVs,’’ says KenGen acting managing director Abraham Serem.

Meanwhile, plans are underway for KenGen to install more than 30 EV charging stations by end of 2023. It already has two stations in Nairobi and Naivasha for internal use.

The company has identified Murang'a, Embu, and Kisumu counties as some of the areas it plans to install the charging stations.

‘‘We have set in motion an elaborate plan to lead Kenya’s transition from gasoline-powered vehicles to EVs as a way of combating climate change while solving transportation challenges in the country,’’ says Mr Serem.

The EV units being piloted are part of KenGen’s environmental and economic sustainability plan ‘‘to reduce global greenhouses gas emissions by inspiring confidence for wider EV adoption across the country,’’ Mr Serem says, noting that the investment demonstrates KenGen’s role in promoting financing for green initiatives in Kenya.

The company is using the pilot to develop a blueprint for the conversion of its fleet from internal combustion engines to electric vehicles. ‘‘We will be able to save from fuel and maintenance costs, and create more value to [our] shareholders,’’ the acting MD adds.

This will also form the basis for the company to advise ‘‘broader strategies on similar trends in the market by other players.’’

On the development of e-mobility infrastructure in the country, the MD argues that a multi-sectorial approach will be required.

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