Look out Tesla*, there’s a new environmentally friendly set of wheels in town.
President William Ruto raised eyebrows and turned heads over the last three days as he smoothly cruised through Nairobi streets to attend the Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi’s KICC (Kenyatta International Convention Centre) in the sleek new AirEv YETU Y300, a locally asssembled electric vehicle.
Ditching his usual guzzler motorcade, the President took the driver’s seat himself, taking the all-electric hatchback for a spin between official events and meetings and giving the “Made in Kenya” EV some high-profile publicity.
Sporting a vibrant lemon yellow paint job, the locally assembled AirEv YETU showcases the country’s manufacturing capabilities and commitment to sustainable transportation.
So move over Tesla, Prius and Leaf – Kenya has an electric contender. President Ruto’s choice of wheels suggests affordable and eco-friendly electric cars will soon be cruising Nairobi streets.
All about the AirEv YETU
The AirEv YETU is manufactured through a partnership between Kenyan company Autopax and Chinese automaker SGMW.
Autopax CEO Joy Kalua stated that engineers from Kenya, Germany, Italy and China spent 7 years developing affordable and sustainable electric vehicles tailored for African roads and conditions.
Earlier this year, Autopax signed a landmark deal with SGMW to produce electric vehicles in Kenya for both the local and export markets across Africa. Initial production is taking place in China, but the AirEv YETU will soon be assembled at Autopax’s Nairobi plant as part of the ‘Made in Kenya’ initiative.
The AirEv YETU comes in two versions – the standard Y200 model which can travel 200km on a single charge, and the long-range Y300 model driven by President Ruto, with a 300km range.
Though not yet available for sale, Autopax estimates pricing between KES 1.7-2 million. Customers can select between a vibrant ‘Lemon Yellow’ exterior like the President’s car, or a more understated ‘Avocado Green.’
The Y200 takes 8.5 hours to fully recharge its 17.3 kWh battery, while the Y300’s 26.7 kWh battery takes just 4 hours to reach 100%. Both models seat 4 passengers comfortably, and come equipped with parking sensors, radio, bluetooth and dual airbags. The Y300 adds navigation, leather seats, remote access and a geofencing alarm.
Autopax highlights the lower maintenance and running costs of EVs to entice consumers. Electric motors require far less servicing than internal combustion engines. Charging an electric vehicle in Kenya costs around 40% less than fueling a comparable petrol car.
Autopax was founded by renowned Kenyan environmentalist and entrepreneur Dr. Isaac Kalua Green, with the mission of bringing sustainable and affordable electric transportation to Africa. Beyond passenger vehicles, the company is actively developing other electric mobility solutions tailored for the continent.
President Ruto’s visible embrace of the locally assembled AirEv YETU demonstrates his administration’s strong commitment to sustainable transportation, energy independence and a green future for Kenya.