ROAM rolls out solar-powered electric motorcycle hubs for fast charging and battery rentals

ROAM – one of Kenya’s leading electric mobility companies – continues to expand its enterprise with new innovations to help electrify Africa’s roads and promote sustainability. Today, the company introduced the ROAM Hub – a multi-purpose electric motorcycle charging station that offers battery swaps, fast chargers, maintenance, and more.

ROAM is a Kenyan electric mobility company with Swedish roots that was founded in 2017 under its original monicker – Opibus. In a short period of time, we’ve watched the startup evolve into a genuine EV developer in Africa, signing deals with mobility juggernauts like Uber, and deploying all-electric transit buses to reduce air and noise pollution on busy streets in Kenya.

In addition to electric conversions of combustion vehicles used for mining and the all-electric buses, ROAM has been developing and deploying electric motorcycles – a huge mobility segment in Africa – for years now.

Last summer, we saw ROAM launch the production version of its Air electric motorcycle, complete with two swappable battery packs and DC fast charging capabilities. Its demand led the company to expand its production footprint to a new headquarters in Nairobi earlier this year, capable of producing 50,000 Air bikes annually.

To support the growing number of ROAM electric motorcycles hitting roads around Kenya, ROAM has begun deploying innovative new charging hubs positioned to help incentivize a huge industry in Kenya to go electric.

ROAM hubs to support electric motorcycle taxi charging

Today, the company announced it has opened Africa’s first ROAM Hub, beginning with an initial rollout of three sites across busy urban traffic areas in Kenya’s Nairobi county.

The hubs offer a relatively small footprint to serve Air electric motorcycle owners with their charging needs, whether it’s a fast charge or a battery rental swap. They are also partially powered using solar energy, adding further sustainability to the electric mobility company’s mission.

ROAM states that the hubs also allow for EVs from its partners (electric bicycles so far) to be serviced and recharged. In addition to the electric motorcycle charging capabilities, ROAM hubs are equipped with spare parts and operated by trained technicians who can aid in maintenance and repair more quickly. In addition to the charging and maintenance perks, electric motorcycle owners can also visit a local ROAM Hub to publicly access software updates.

This convenience and versatility was all taken into account when ROAM designed its new Hub, stating it was specifically targeted toward boda-boda operators – an abundant motorcycle taxi industry.

With so many boda-boda bikes on roads, noise and air pollution has become a serious issue in the area, and a huge factor in ROAM’s mission to help decarbonize the entire industry. By offering a more convenient and holistic charging experience, the company looks to attract more boda-boda drivers to switch to one of its electric motorcycles. ROAM’s energy & charging product manager Habib Lukaya elaborated:

At ROAM, we believe that simplifying the charging experience is essential to electric motorcycle adoption and customer satisfaction. We are confident that this hassle-free charging experience is what will eventually turn the boda-boda industry electric.

Looking ahead, ROAM told Electrek it will continue to add locations to its Hub network in the coming months and intends to have 15 Hubs in operation by the end of 2023. Check out the company’s latest video of the ROAM hub in action below.

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