Kenya has launched the first locally designed electric bus in Africa. The electric bus is manufactured and designed by Opibus, a Swedish-Kenyan company founded in 2017 as an electric mobility company. The company’s aim is to bring clean energy to public transportation in Kenya. Opibus is the first Kenyan company to make electric motorcycles. They plan to launch the bus commercially in a few months and bring it to markets across Africa by 2023.
Public transport in Kenya and across the African continent is largely run informally, and emissions standards are rarely enforced, making the vehicles highly pollutive as Jane Akumu, a Sustainable Mobility expert at the U.N. Environment Program explains.
“If you look at the cities, the heavy-duty vehicles which are buses and trucks, that’s the bulk of the pollution. So, they are a big contributor to pollution. But as I said, they are also an opportunity. Because how do we shift to cleaner modes? Because we need mass transport to be sustainable to make cities more sustainable,” said Jane Akumu
The introduction of electric buses into the African market by Opibus is aimed at remedying the situation. Albin Wilson is the chief of strategy and marketing at Opibus.
“This electric bus is really (an) important first step in the transition from fossil fuel vehicles to electric clean mobility,” said Wilson. “And I think we are really showing precedence being the first movers in this market with a bus that is even locally developed.”
Dennis Wakaba, the project coordinator said: “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.”