BasiGo, an electric vehicle startup has announced the launch of its operations in Nairobi. The company will introduce a clean energy option to the public transport industry which is currently dominated by fossil-fuel matatus and buses.
The company intends to begin selling locally produced electric buses made using parts from BYD Automative, a Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer. The buses will have a capacity of 26 or 36 seats and a range of 250 kilometers, allowing them to make round journeys.
“For years, diesel-powered buses have been the only viable solution for bus operators in Kenya. We are excited to provide public transport operators with a new option: state-of-the-art electric buses that are more affordable, and reliable, and reduce bus operator exposure to the rising costs of diesel fuel,” said BasiGo CEO and co-founder Jit Bhattacharya.
.The venture has received $1 million in pre-seed funding from BasiGo. The company intends to launch the first buses in Kenya later this year, with a flexible financing approach that will let interested clients to buy the buses for the same price as traditional gasoline buses. In addition, the model allows for payment in installments.
“The cost of electric bus technology has come down dramatically over the last 10 years, to the point where electric buses can offer significant savings compared to fossil-fuel buses. Our goal is to help bus owners in Kenya realize these savings, and in the process, help Kenya become a global leader in sustainable public transport,” said Bhattacharya.
Alex Mwaura, BasiGo’s COO, stated that the company intends to use Kenya’s renewable energy resources to power public transportation.
“Kenya is unique in that we have a surplus of renewable energy which can be taken advantage of by the public transport sector to make it more sustainable going forward. Nairobi’s transportation sector is evolving rapidly, and we look forward to partnering with the government and relevant agencies to grow the infrastructure for electrified public transit.”
BasiGo is also planning to expand into other countries within East Africa after the launch in Kenya.