Nairobi Set for Piloting of Electric Buses

November 11, 2021
Build Your Dream(BYD) electric bus. File Image

Nairobians will soon be able to commute to the city’s Central Business District in electric buses.

This is after BasiGo, an e-mobility start-up, raised Sh100 million in seed funding to locally assemble 25 and 36-seater electric buses for public transport.

BasiGo, headquartered in Nairobi, last week announced its entry into the Kenyan market. The firm is reportedly sourcing the vehicles from China’s BYD Automotive, the largest manufacturer of electric buses globally.

The start-up is planning to ship in two units before the end of the year, Smart Business reports.

The two electric buses will be used for the pilot phase of its entry into the Kenyan market, while local bus operators for the pilot testing have already been selected.

BasiGo said the buses offer a more environmentally sustainable solution that is affordable and also cheaper to maintain than current diesel buses.

BasiGo chief executive Jit Bhattacharya, who co-founded the firm with renewable energy veteran Jonathan Green, said electric buses will not only be a first in Kenya but will also be more affordable, reliable, and cost-effective.

“For years, diesel-powered buses have been the only viable solution for bus operators in Kenya. We are excited to provide public transport operators with a new option: state-of-the-art electric buses that are more affordable, more reliable, and reduce bus operator exposure to the rising cost of diesel fuel,” Mr Bhattacharya said.

Additionally, Bhattacharya said prices of electric buses have come down drastically addressing concerns over the initial cost of the vehicles.

“Our goal is to help bus owners in Kenya realise these savings, and in the process, help Kenya become a global leader in sustainable public transport,” he said.

The buses can go 250 kilometers before needing to be recharged.

“We will build a charging depot in Nairobi for the buses that we will use for the piloting. However, we will be able to build more charging pots as demand for the buses increases over time,” Bhattacharya said.

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