Innovation That Matters

Roam is accelerating the EV transition in East Africa | Photo source The Earthshot Prize

Accelerating the electric vehicle transition in East Africa

Springwise Earthshot

A tech company provides electric motorbikes and buses tailored to the needs of the African market

Spotted: The International Energy Agency estimates that, globally, 13 per cent of new cars sold in 2022 will be electric. But in the transition to electric vehicles (EVs), sub-Saharan Africa faces challenges. These include an unreliable electricity supply, low vehicle affordability, and the dominance of used vehicles. At the same time, transport makes up 10 per cent of Africa’s total greenhouse gas emissions, so there is a need for change. 

Spotting a gap in the EV market, Kenyan-Swedish company Roam is offering solutions for the African transport sector. The company’s solutions are underpinned by practicality, and one of the key features of the Roam offer is the conversion of existing vehicles to electric power.

Roam has two key business propositions. The first, Roam Air, is an electric motorcycle that is tailored for commercial use. This is important in East Africa where four to six per cent of the population relies on motorcycles for income.

Roam also offers two electric bus models that can be charged through a solar power system or the grid. Costs are kept low through localisation and an ownership model where initial investment in an electric bus is the same as for a diesel equivalent. Buyers then pay off the remaining cost through operational savings that come from the lower maintenance requirements of an EV.

Other recent EV innovations spotted by Springwise include e-rickshaws that provide an extra life for used EV batteries, solar-powered tuk-tuks, and green mass transit in Nairobi.

Written By: Matthew Hempstead



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