Africa’s motorcycle sector is ripe for electrification. STIMA, a battery swapping technology company targeting the deployment of convenient battery swapping infrastructure for electric motorcycles at scale, estimates that there are about 20 million 2-wheelers on Africa’s roads today. Most of these motorcycles are used as moto-taxis that are famously known as boda-bodas in East Africa, for example. These motorcycles are essentially all still internal combustion motorcycles, whose running costs would be greatly decreased by switching to electric vehicles. This means that riders will earn more money with the same work they do currently by switching to electric motorcycles. Africa’s fleet of motorcycles is expected to keep growing due to the rise of the on-demand and e-commerce sectors that also use these motorcycles for deliveries. The growth of the FinTech sector — the Pay-As-You-Go and mobile money platforms — will also stimulate the growth of the motorcycle sector through scalable and flexible vehicle financing ecosystems.
STIMA and One Electric, India’s leading electric motorcycle manufacturer, have announced their partnership to deploy 3,000 rechargeable electric motorcycles in Kenya in the first phase. Thereafter, the joint venture will expand to other African countries. The partnership combines One Electric’s high-performing and premium electric motorcycles with STIMA’s instant recharge infrastructure (battery swapping) that can be deployed at a large scale. One Electric has already supplied an initial 30 motorcycles that will be deployed in the Kenyan market in the coming weeks.
The motorcycle sector is now the biggest vehicle segment in Kenya. The number of motorcycles registered in 2021 was more than 1.5 times the number of motorcycles registered in 2018! The impressive growth over the past 6 years is shown in the table below:
Motorcycle Registrations in Kenya Over the Last 5 Years
Vehicle Registrations in Kenya by Vehicle Type:
Through the partnership, the companies can jointly deploy the most scalable model of electric 2-wheeler mobility tailored to African markets, which are defined by a high price sensitivity, intensive usage of up to 300 km per day and in challenging conditions (rough roads), and a high demand for high performance and durability.
Jason Gras, Co-Founder and CEO of STIMA, says: “The partnership with One Electric takes advantage of their high-quality and very strong electric motorcycles and enables STIMA to bring its battery swapping technology and innovative software services to the Kenyan market on a national scale. The partnership fits completely into our vision for the future of mobility in Africa: electric and technology-driven to keep cities on the move and protect the environment.”
Gaurav Uppal, CEO of One Electric, further adds, “After working in the African market for more than a year, testing products with STIMA in Nairobi, evaluating the local conditions and riding habits, we were able to produce a motorcycle which can meet Africa’s demand. Heavy duty chassis, long lasting and durable suspension, metal body, high power motor and long life battery packs are well suited for delivering a long life for these bikes.”
With STIMA’s battery swapping stations in Nairobi, the company removes three main barriers for the adoption of electric motorcycles: high upfront battery costs, long charging times, and range anxiety. This creates enormous opportunities for energy investors.
Emile Fulcheri, CTO of STIMA, says: “The need for energy infrastructure investment for electric mobility in Africa is in the range of billions. We are building the required tailored technologies and business models that will ensure these investments are profitable and the most scalable.”
One Electric was founded by Gaurav Uppal and Abhijeet Shah in 2019. One Electric aims to become market leaders in electric motorcycles for the Indian and African markets, in the 100cc up to 180cc segments. It is present in and has ongoing trials in 6 African countries, India, UAE, and Nepal. With constant R&D in battery, motor, and controller technologies, the company is striving to provide the most durable and long lasting powerful electric motorcycles.