How Africa is set to blow past the rest of the world on electric motorcycles

Europe is chugging along slowly but surely in the transition from noisy, polluting combustion engine motorcycles to quiet, efficient electrics. Asia has already made impressive progress, and North America is, well, making an attempt. But Africa could be poised to leap past everyone as several countries adopt ambitious plans to put millions of electric motorcycles on the roads.

Much of Africa is dominated by motorcycles, which are especially popular with boda bodas, or motorcycle taxis. They are useful to better navigate crowded cities and weave through rough roads.

And those millions of emissions-spewing motorcycles are set to go green in the next few years thanks to governmental programs and several local African e-motorcycle companies.

Earlier this year, Uganda grabbed headlines with a plan to give free electric motorcycles to all of its boda boda riders.

Now Kenya is the latest country to declare major e-moto ambitions, with President Ruto announcing plans to put 1 million electric motorcycles and 3,000 battery charging/swapping stations on the ground in the country. The plan involves teaming up with Spiro, an African startup that specializes in battery swapping and electric motorcycles.

“The adoption of electric mobility is a high-priority intervention to address the challenges of pollution, adverse health effects, and fuel costs,” Ruto explained to Business Insider.

Spiro already has around 10,000 electric motorcycles operating in Africa, but this would mark a major increase in the company’s operations.

And Spiro isn’t the only electric motorcycle startup working to fulfill Africa’s need for efficient, small-format electric vehicles. Several others have sprung up over the last few years.

ROAM recently opened a new 10,000-square-meter production facility in Nairobi for its Air electric motorcycle.

ROAM Africa

Companies like Zembo have demonstrated the ability of manual battery swapping stations to provide fast and efficient battery swaps to keep riders on the road for full-day shifts.

The move is unique because most electric motorcycles are produced in China, yet Africa has shown a strong willingness to develop domestic e-motos using local production. Combined with strong government support from key African countries, the continent could be well on its way to becoming a leader in electric two-wheeler adoption.

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