KenGen the electric power generating company has announced plans to invest in a charging system for electric cars, as a way to increase its profits.
In a virtual meeting held by the firm, the firm’s strategy and Innovation Director David Muthike noted on Monday that the firm is looking towards introducing electric service cars as Kenya is projected to reduce its consumption on diesel.
“The case to have electric vehicles is there and KenGen is ready to support that with renewable energy,” noted Mr Muthike in the webinar organised by the Energy Society of Kenya.
“On innovation, we are exploring to participate in manufacturing and we have also rolled out charging infrastcture with a pilot within our premises.”
However, KenGen did not offer any information about the location of the pilot vehicle charging system.
It is expected that the revenue will be got from vehicle owners who will need to charge their cars. However, the success of the investment is dependent on the innovation gaining popularity locally.
In the western countries, the technology has been gaining ground as the global community looks to reduce on carbon emission.
Despite the huge hopes, the biggest challenges have always been the high price, inadequate infrastructure and energy storing batteries especially in African states like Kenya.
Nopea the taxi riding app has been piloting the electric rides since late 2018 when first initiated the concept locally.
In early 2020, the company through its CEO and Founder Juha Suojanen, noted that it was looking to introduce charging stations at two more locations in Nairobi, by April this year. This would take the number of charging stations to five, an addition to the three existing premises – Hub Karen, Thika Road Mall and two Rivers Mall.
All these charging locations are linked to the national grid and hybridised by caged solar power which is part of Nopea’s strategy to promote clean energy usage. In relation to clean energy, the company also notes that its electric taxis provide low-cost travel to cab customers due to fuel expenses being cut off and bare minimum repairs, reducing the fees.
Estimates from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) indicate that Nairobi’s electric cars market will rise to $ 5 billion (Sh 500 billion) over the next 10 years to 2030. This presents a bright future for investors.
Other than Nopea, Opibus is the other green energy company which specialises in electric conversion of off road vehicles like Land cruisers and Land Rover Defender, targeting campsites and wildlife conservancies – having off grid solar plants.
The firm wants to begin converting petrol and diesel public passenger vehicles (matatus) on Kenyan roads to electric vehicles on Kenyan roads.
The fossil fuel-to electric conversion includes removal of engines from petrol vehicles and replacing them with electric motor and battery pack. Also removed is the fuel tank, along with the gearbox, both of which are rendered obsolete by the electric drive.