Written by: Yunus Kemp
Uganda has partnered with a vehicle and smart battery design company to introduce electric motorbikes and charging and swapping stations across the country.
Under the deal, SPIRO will deploy 140,000 electric motorbikes into the Ugandan market over the next five years.
The company will also develop over 3,000 recharging and battery swapping stations.
An electric motorbike assembly plant is also on the cards.
SPIRO Chief Executive Officer Shegun Adjadi Bakari, said their business model is based on “providing energy with unique operational efficiency is key to our roll-out capability.”
“Ten months after our commercial launch we have already deployed close to 5,000 vehicles that perform 130,000 swaps per month in our 250 swap stations and we are by far the largest EV platform in the entire Africa.”
The company said it operates a similar model in Benin, Togo and Rwanda.
“With this agreement with the Government of Uganda, SPIRO will deploy 3,000 EV swapping and charging infrastructure where 140,000 electric vehicles can easily swap daily.”
Bakari said electric two-wheelers “are the future of sustainable mobility in Africa.” Their rollout of nearly 5,000 electric motorbikes in a year is an example of this growth, he said.
One of the campaign’s main targets are Uganda’s “boda-bodas” or motorbike taxi riders.
Electric motorbikes designed for African conditions
Bakari said these taxis account for nearly half of “travel flows” in Kampala and other Ugandan cities.
These drivers will now be able to swap out their vehicles for electric ones, said Bakari.
The motorbikes are designed and adapted for the African market, with the swapping technology allowing users to “easily travel with no range limits.” Bakari said the battery swap station takes three minutes to swap batteries.
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Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, in a speech earlier this year, addressed the issue of electric vehicles.
“We are not just sitting and waiting for the global conflicts to calm down and bring down the price of fuel. We are working on plans to shift to electric buses, electric cars, and electric piki pikis.
“The quickest move may be on piki pikis. We have agreed with some investors, to take away the petrol/diesel ones and give the owners the electric ones.”
SPIRO lists the African Fund for Transformation and Industrialisation (ATIF) as an investor which has provided it with over $50 million in funding.