Electric batteries are fueling the shift from petrol-powered bikes in Kenya


At e-mobility startup Roam’s assembly plant in Nairobi, an engineer tests a new electric battery he has just designed. He mounts the battery on one of the waiting bikes, loads a150 kg-metallic box on it and rides it round the warehouse. “See how silent and powerful it is? This is the future of two-wheeler mobility,” co-founder and chairman of Roam (formerly Opibus) Filip Gardler tells Quartz.

On Aug. 16, the startup partnered with M-Kopa, a Nairobi-based clean energy financier to provide thousands of e-motorcycles to riders in Kenya, after becoming the first startup in the country to convert petrol-powered motorbikes to electric last year, starting with a fleet of 100.

“This is one of the biggest leaps for electric mobility in Africa. Enabling a pay-as-you go structure means users can benefit from reduced operational costs, allowing them to make as much as double the daily income from petrol motorcycles,” Gardler says.