Ride-hailing giant Uber on Thursday launched a fleet of electric motorbikes in Kenya, marking the company’s first foray into electric bikes in Africa.
The company aims to have 3,000 electric motorbikes operating in Nairobi and other major cities in Kenya within the next six months. This will represent nearly a fifth of Uber’s total motorbike fleet in the country.
The company said drivers can expect to see operating costs reduced by 30% to 35% thanks to the savings from fuel and maintenance of electric motors. In turn, this will allow Uber to charge riders 15% to 20% less per trip than with gasoline-powered bikes.
Kenya is an ideal starting point in Africa thanks to its heavy reliance on renewable energy sources like hydroelectric and geothermal, which account for over 90% of the country’s power generation.
The Kenyan government has actively promoted sustainability initiatives, including a goal to have over 200,000 electric motorbikes on roads by 2024, up from around 2,000 currently.
President William Ruto highlighted the role electric motorbikes could play in providing affordable, eco-friendly transport for the masses.
However, the growth of electric vehicles in Kenya and across Africa has been constrained by lack of charging infrastructure. Local companies have stepped in to build battery-swapping stations in major hubs like Nairobi to address the shortage.
Uber’s launch in Kenya kicks off a broader rollout of electric bikes and autos planned across sub-Saharan Africa in Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania and South Africa later this year. The move aligns with Uber’s sustainability commitment to be a zero-emissions mobility platform worldwide by 2040.