Electric Mobility Company Opibus has raised $7.5 million in funding to start electric motorcycle and bus manufacturing in 2022.
The Company raised $5 million in equity and $2.5 million in grants in a pre-series A round led by Silicon Valley fund At One Ventures and supported by Factor[e] Ventures and Ambo Ventures.
With the funding, the Swedish-Kenyan company, which has been focusing on electric conversion of diesel-powered vehicles, will now start manufacturing its own automobiles.
“We are proud to be backed by globally recognized investors providing a balance between deep-tech and emerging market expertise. We have together reached a clear strategic and visionary alignment, with the conviction that mass manufacturing of electric mobility solutions in Africa will not only make the products more accessible and affordable but also lead to one of the largest industrialization and welfare transitions of the region in modern time,” said Opibus’ CEO and co-founder, Filip Gardler.
The Swedish-Kenyan Company is to deliver its first electric bus by the first quarter of 2022.
Seen as a largely untapped opportunity, the African market for electric mass transit vehicles continues to attract electric vehicle manufacturing and transportation start-ups.
On Tuesday, BasiGo, an electric vehicle start up launched its operations in Nairobi. BasiGo CEO and co-founder Jit Bhattacharya said their electric buses will provide a cheaper alternative to diesel-powered buses which are prone to fare hikes. The buses that can cover about 250 kilometers daily will come in 25 and 36 seater capacities.
“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, and reliable, and reduce bus operator exposure to the rising costs of diesel fuel,” he said.
The Company, which also announced that it had raised $1 million in pre-seed funding, plans to sell the EV buses at the price of their diesel equivalent, which Bhattacharya says will help the owners save on costs.
“The cost of electric bus technology has come down dramatically over the last 10 years, to the point where electric buses can offer significant savings compared to fossil-fuel buses. Our goal is to help bus owners in Kenya realize these savings, and in the process, help Kenya become a global leader in sustainable public transport,” said Bhattacharya.
Both Opibus and BasiGo are planning to expand their operations in other Subsaharan markets. According to the World Health Organization, automobile pollution causes at least 5,000 deaths per year in Kenya.