TECHNOLOGY

First electric bus launched in Kenya

The first electric bus is set to be launched commercially mid this year

In Summary

•The Key to the technology is the Opibus proprietary electric vehicle platform, which is modular and can be the foundation for several types of vehicles.

•With the installation of a powerful motor, the bus has maximum torque, which improves performance while enabling the driver to accelerate more responsively.

Opibus proprietary electric vehicle /HANDOUT
Opibus proprietary electric vehicle /HANDOUT

The first all electric bus is now available in Kenya courtesy of Swedish-Kenyan technology firm Opibus.

This is also the companies first Africa designed electric bus.

The bus will be significantly low cost than importing fully built electric buses and has a superior performance compared to its diesel counterpart.   

The initial deployment of the buses will be in peri-urban areas around Nairobi.

“The 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,”project coordinator – Public Transport, Dennis Wakaba said.

He said the step is a major step in the company’s vision to provide a locally designed and developed electric bus that can be mass-produced for the Pan-African market by the end of 2023.

The key to the technology is the Opibus proprietary electric vehicle platform, which is modular and can be the foundation for several types of vehicles.

The firm said this enables the creation of a bus that is suitable for use in Africa in terms of reliability, durability and pricing 

The bus is installed with a powerful motor to give it maximum torque, which improves performance while enabling the driver to accelerate more responsively.

Additionally, since the electric bus does not have a combustion engine or manual gearboxes, there are no oil or filters as well as gaskets that need to be changed.

This results to an 80 per cent reduction in maintenance expenses, compared to a diesel bus.

Wakaba said factoring into account the electricity charges which are significantly, lower than diesel prices, the total operating expenses are lowered by 50 per cent and will revolutionise the public transport sector in Africa.

Several charging points will be installed with a mix of AC (slow) and DC (fast) chargers. Using the fast charger, the electric bus will be fully charged within an hour enabling seamless operations.