Just days after introducing the first locally designed and assembled all-electric mass transit bus in Kenya, Swedish-Kenyan EV start-up Opibus has launched a solar product for Africa.
“With the unprecedented power cuts, we have a solar system that ensures you have access to power even when you have no connection to the grid. It can be tailored for any need, be it residential or commercial. The best part is that we are using a technology that allows for an easy upgrade of the system for future use in case there is an increase in energy demand” the company said in a statement.
Opibus, which raised $7.5 million in pre-series A funding last year is gradually establishing itself as a green energy solutions provider for Africa.
The company is in the process of conducting a pilot test for its recently launched electric mass transit bus before commercial deployment of 10 units during the second half of 2022 in Kenya and the pan-African market by the end of 2023.
“This first electric bus is set to be launched commercially mid this year. Following this, the platform will be tested at scale in commercial deployment of 10 buses during the second half of 2022. In doing so, we ensure that we gather valuable feedback to continue the development of the product for an optimized market fit. It feels great to be the first movers in this very exciting space” Dennis Wakaba, Opibus Project coordinator Public Transport said.
Opibus said in a statement the deployment of the buses will initially be in peri-urban areas around Nairobi Metropolitan. Along with the bus deployment, the company also plans to install several charging points for the EV buses in the operating area.
Compared to its diesel counterpart, the firm says the new electric bus is silent, produces zero emissions, reduces 80% of the maintenance cost and lowers overall operational costs by 50%. Brand new Opibus electric buses will cost $100,000 and $60,000 for conversions.
While Kenya receives high solar radiation, the percentage of solar energy harnessed at present is insignificant compared to the potential. Private investors have been calling on the government to provide a favourable environment for solar uptake through subsidies to reduce the cost of purchase and installation.