Electric mobility discussions have lately taken center stage in many countries across the globe. Electric mobility is becoming a better choice than other energy sources, including geothermal, hydro, and wind, as it has minimal emissions.
Electric vehicles represent the next frontier for the African automotive market. Kenya, which is predominantly known for petrol/diesel-powered vehicles, is slowly warming up to electric mobility.
Electric cars are already here with us. There is a cab-hailing app with a fleet of over 30 cars, and soon electric bodas and cars will be on our roads. But what is more exciting is that a company is converting regular cars to electric ones in Kenya.
History of Electric Vehicles
You’ll be shocked that electric vehicles have existed since 1827, when a successful experiment was performed. The vehicle has evolved over the years from hybrid models to fully electric vehicles, with companies like Tesla championing electric mobility.
Electric vehicles were widely accepted in the European and American markets. The vehicles haven’t been popular in the African markets until recently. Countries like Kenya and Rwanda are at the forefront of adopting tax incentives to fasten the import of electric vehicles, and now they are developing their own.
The first African Electric Vehicle to go into production was the Kiira EV in 2011. The car was built by students of Makerere University with the help of the government. The students went on to establish Kiira Motors Corporation.
In 2021, the official Hyundai dealer in Kenya, Caetano, announced the arrival of the first new electric vehicle in Kenya. The new Hyundai KONA is now commercialized in Kenya.
Why Electric Cars?
Kenya opened its market to electric vehicles. Popular car manufacturers like Toyota are now producing hybrid vehicles, prompting users to want to know more about the importance of electric vehicles.
Additionally, policymakers have made the import of electric vehicles cheaper, increasing the number of purchases.
At the onset, the only electric option was the Toyota Prius. The model was later joined by Tesla, which is a bit expensive for a common mwananchi. However, as time goes by, more car makers are gaining confidence, hence more electric vehicles in the market.
For instance, during the Frankfurt Motor Show of 2019, Multiple car brands came out to showcase their electric creations, including Porsche, Volkswagen, and Honda.
Electric car models such as Nissan Leaf, Nissan e-NV200, or e-Golf will also be found in the Kenyan market. Alternatively, you can import an electric car from Europe or Japan if they meet Kenyan regulations.
Another exciting reason that has led to improved uptake of electric cars in Kenya is the Tax relief. The government slashed the tax levy on electric vehicles carrying more than ten people in a bid to encourage the uptake of commercial electric vehicles.
I know the major concern with electric vehicles is where to charge them. That should no longer be a problem, as Nairobi has several charging stations. If you live in Karen, you can find a charging spot at Jubilee Center or at Two Rivers along Limuru Road. A few fuel stations have installed the EV charging system, so you cannot be stranded.
But the biggest reason why more Kenyans think of going the electric way is that the car is more economical. Electric vehicles consume less power than their petrol or diesel counterparts.
Electric vehicles can convert up to 90% of their energy to driving power, while petrol or diesel-powered vehicles can only convert 35%. Electric cars are highly likely to be more efficient and powerful as technology advances.
I hope you are more encouraged, just as I am, to try electric vehicles. With fuel prices going up occasionally, with no hope for when they will go down, we can all agree that going electric will save our environment and our pockets.
So next time you see me scanning around for an electric car, please don’t judge me, am ready for change.