Written by: Yunus Kemp
Kenya’s electric bus market continues to grow, with a local company announcing that it will assemble at least 130 vehicles manufactured in China for use in the local market.
Associated Vehicle Assemblers (AVA) said this week that it would assemble the electric buses manufactured by Chinese automotive firm BYD (Build Your Dreams) in 2023.
This announcement follows an agreement earlier this year between AVA and Kenyan electric mobility startup BasiGo to produce more than 1,000 buses over the next three years.
AVA managing director Matt Lloyd told Chinese media outlet Xinhua in Nairobi that so far it had assembled 15 BYD electric buses for the local market that were imported as a collection of parts.
“The advantage of BYD is that it is one of the world’s leaders in the manufacture of electric vehicles and the level of quality of the vehicles is very high,” Lloyd told Xinhua at an electric vehicle forum.
Lloyd said locally assembled BYD buses “have high safety standards and will therefore enhance Kenya’s overall road safety.” He added that his firm had “gained modern automotive technology through the technical advice it has received from BYD.”
In January, BasiGo and AVA announced its partnership to assemble buses in Mombasa “as demand for electric vehicles is forecasted to rise in the coming years.”
During @SECO_StateSec Budliger Artieda’s visit to @BasiGoKenya 🇰🇪, Co-founder Jonathan Green and Amb. Valentin Zellweger point out how environmentally friendly the buses are, and highlight the success of🇨🇭funding SIFEM; #SwissMissionKE pic.twitter.com/sPemZPfYk9— Embassy of Switzerland in Nairobi (@SwissEmbassyKE) March 8, 2023
More than 1,000 electric buses to be manufactured
The companies project to make more than 1,000 electric buses in the next three years, creating over 300 jobs in manufacturing, charging, maintenance and financing. Under the deal, AVA will assemble 33-seater buses as the company seeks to phase out 25-seater buses used in its pilot project.
“BasiGo is committed to delivering electric buses that are 100 percent assembled in Kenya. We are elated to be partnering with AVA… which has had the expertise for many years in the assembly in the country,” said the CEO, Jit Bhattachary.
Thousands of kilometres, commuters clocked up in pilot phase for electric bus usage
BasiGo shipped 15 partially assembled 25-seater electric buses into Kenya last year, which AVA completed building in January.
The buses are “set to start operations with Nairobi matatu operators in the coming months,” BasiGo said.
The firm has been piloting two buses since March 2022 with Citi Hoppa and East Shuttle, on the North Airport Road to Allsops, Thika Road and the Dandora–City Stadium routes. So far the buses had so far covered 120,000 kilometres in the pilot period and ferried over 150,000 passengers.