BasiGo, an e-mobility start-up yesterday flagged off the first electric buses in Kenya for passenger use.
The launch comes barely a month after the company secured $4.3 million in seed funding to set up an assembly plant in Nairobi and to launch the sales and delivery of its electric buses.
The guest of honour at the event was the Permanent Secretary in the State Department of Transport, Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development and Public Works, Dr Eng. Joseph K. Njoroge, CBS.
The event was also attended by representatives of BasiGo’s pilot partners, Citi Hoppa and East Shuttle. There were also representatives from BYD Automotive and Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC). BYD and KPLC are BasiGo’s key strategic partners in the deployment of electric buses and charging infrastructure.
“Today marks an important step towards a cleaner and brighter future for public transit in Kenya. We are thrilled to be partnering with two pioneering PSV operators; Citi Hoppa and East Shuttle, to give Kenyans their first chance to ride in an electric bus. These buses will transform expectations for bus travel in Nairobi and we look forward to seeing them carrying passengers in safety, comfort, and with zero emissions on a daily basis. With Kenya’s abundant renewable electricity to power these buses, we can make Kenya a global leader in the shift to sustainable public transit, ” said Jit Bhattacharya, CEO and Co-Founder at BasiGo.
Dr Eng. Joseph K. Njoroge, the Principal Secretary, Ministry of Energy and Petroleum attended the event. “We are currently working towards launching the BRT system in Nairobi to ease traffic and our goal is to have electric buses used. These buses from BasiGo are proof that we can make that a reality and work towards building a sustainable transport sector.” he said.
Eng. Rosemary Oduor, CEO and Acting Managing Director KPLC, also pledged to work with BasiGo in developing the charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.
“We are ready to play our part in the electrification of transportation and will strive to support this endeavour and the transformation of the country to mitigate the effects of climate change,” she said.
BasiGo buses arrived in the country in December 2021 and have undergone extensive validation and reliability testing in preparation for the pilot launch. The buses shall now go into operation as standard PSVs with Citi Hoppa and East Shuttle.
Citi Hoppa will be deploying the BasiGo electric bus on routes between the city centre and Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. East Shuttle plans to deploy their electric bus on the Eastlands side of Nairobi. The electric bus pilot program will give passengers along these routes the chance to ride in the electric bus just like any other matatu.
BasiGo also announced that they are now taking reservations for the first production units of the K6 Electric Bus. The K6 is a 25-seat, 250 km range electric bus that recharges in less than 4 hours. The K6 is designed by BYD Automotive, the largest manufacturer of electric buses in the world.
Through BasiGo’s unique Pay-As-You-Drive battery financing program, owners can purchase the K6 for $5 million-plus a daily subscription fee equal to $0.20 per kilometre which includes the cost of leasing the battery, nightly charging at a BasiGo depot, and service and maintenance for the electric bus. Customers can reserve the K6 electric bus with no deposit and no cancellation penalty.
The company says delivery to customers of the first locally assembled K6 Electric Buses will begin in the second half of 2022.