BasiGo, an e-mobility start-up, today announced the launch of its operations in Nairobi, Kenya. This follows the raising of US$1mn in a pre-seed funding round.
The company will provide 25 and 36-seater capacity buses ranging 250 kilometers. The company says this will be enough to cater for daily round trips. BasiGo seeks to provide a clean energy alternative for the public transport industry in Kenya, which is currently dominated by fossil-fuel buses.
“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,” said BasiGo CEO and co-founder Jit Bhattacharya.
The startup also announced its plans to sell its locally assembled electric buses using parts from China’s EV maker, BYD Automotive. The pilot program is expected to begin after the arrival of the first bus later this year.
BasiGo has developed a financing model to cater to the high acquisition cost of its vehicles. The model will allow its customers to purchase its EV buses at the price of their diesel equivalents while offsetting the balance through usage-based subscription fees.
“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.
The company’s plan to launch electric buses in Kenya comes in the wake of increasing demands for the adoption of clean energy in public transport. On-demand taxi companies like Bolt and Uber have taken steps by introducing electric vehicle options thus gradually moving away from fossil fuel which is heavily linked to air pollution.
BasiGo has plans to expand into other markets within the East Africa region after establishing ground in Kenya. The company is backed by a number of investors including Climate Capital, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm, and Third Derivative, an accelerator focused on climate-technology.
BasiGo’s COO, Alex Mwaura, believes the company can tap into the country’s renewable energy resource to fuel public transportation.
“Kenya is unique in that we have a surplus of renewable energy which can be taken advantage of by the public transport sector to make it more sustainable going forward. Nairobi’s transportation sector is evolving rapidly, and we look forward to partnering with the government and relevant agencies to grow the infrastructure for electrified public transit.”
Other EV startups within Kenya are electric vehicle maker Opibus and NopeaRide — Kenya’s first fully electric taxi company — which are both setting up charging hubs across Nairobi.
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