Uber, the world’s largest ride-hailing company, has introduced an electric motorbike service in Kenya, its first in Africa, as part of its pledge to make its platform zero-emission by 2040. The company intends to launch the service in Nigeria and other African countries later this year.
The new service, called Electric Boda, will offer greener and cheaper rides to Uber’s customers in Kenya, where motorbike taxis are a common way of transport. Uber aims to have 3,000 electric bikes on the road within six months, or about 20% of its fleet in the country.
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The electric bikes will lower the operating costs for the drivers by 30-35%, as they will spend less on fuel and maintenance. The riders will also enjoy lower fares, as Uber will charge 15-20% less than for a normal motorbike ride. Moreover, the electric bikes will make less noise and vibration, making the rides more smooth and pleasant.
Uber Official statement about New Venture
Uber’s general manager for sub-Saharan Africa, Kagiso Khaole, said that the launch of Electric Boda in Kenya was a landmark for the company and the continent. This shows our innovation and our commitment to providing affordable and sustainable mobility solutions for our customers and drivers,” he said.
Kenya is an ideal market for Uber’s electric bike service, as the country has been leading the continent’s transition towards green energy. Kenya produces more than 90% of its power from renewable sources, such as hydro, geothermal, wind and solar. The country also has a growing network of battery-swapping stations that allow electric vehicle owners to recharge their batteries quickly and conveniently.
Kenya’s President William Ruto has expressed his support for the adoption of electric vehicles in the country, especially motorbikes, which are a major source of employment for millions of Kenyans. He said that he wanted to see the number of electric motorbikes on the road increase from the current 2,000 to more than 200,000 by the end of 2024.
Uber’s expansion of its electric bike service to other African countries will depend on the availability of reliable and affordable electricity supply, as well as the development of adequate charging infrastructure. The company also faces regulatory challenges in some markets, such as Nigeria, where bike-hailing startups have been banned from operating in major cities.
However, Uber is optimistic that it can overcome these hurdles and tap into the huge potential of electric mobility in Africa. The company believes that its electric bike service will not only reduce its environmental impact, but also create new opportunities for economic growth and social development in the continent.