BasiGo, an e-mobility start-up headquartered in Nairobi, has flagged off the first electric buses in the country for passenger use. The guest of honour at the event was the PS in the State Department of Transport, Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development and Public Works, Eng. Joseph K. Njoroge.
The event was also attended by representatives of BasiGo’s pilot partners, Citi Hoppa and East Shuttle. There were also representatives from BYD Automotive and Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC). BYD and KPLC are BasiGo’s key strategic partners in the deployment of electric buses and charging infrastructure.
“Today marks an important step towards a cleaner and brighter future for public transit in Kenya. We are thrilled to be partnering with two pioneering PSV operators; Citi Hoppa and East Shuttle, to give Kenyans their first chance to ride in an electric bus. These buses will transform expectations for bus travel in Nairobi and we look forward to seeing them carrying passengers in safety, comfort, and with zero emissions on a daily basis. With Kenya’s abundant renewable electricity to power these buses, we can make Kenya a global leader in the shift to sustainable public transit,” said Jit Bhattacharya, CEO and co-founder at BasiGo.
Eng Joseph K. Njoroge said: “We are currently working towards launching the BRT system in Nairobi to ease traffic and our goal is to have electric buses used. These buses from BasiGo are proof that we can make that a reality and work towards building a sustainable transport sector.” he said.
Eng. Rosemary Oduor, CEO and Acting MD, KPLC, also pledged to work with BasiGo in developing the charging infrastructure for electric vehicles. “We are ready to play our part in the electrification of transportation and will strive to support this endeavour and the transformation of the country to mitigate the effects of climate change.” she said. The buses arrived in the country in December 2021 and have undergone extensive validation and reliability testing in preparation for the pilot launch. The buses shall now go into operation as standard PSVs with Citi Hoppa and East Shuttle. Citi Hoppa will be deploying the BasiGo electric bus on routes between the city centre and Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. East Shuttle plans to deploy their electric bus on the Eastlands side of Nairobi. The electric bus pilot program will give passengers along these routes the chance to ride in the electric bus just like any other matatu.”
“Customer comfort and safety are the DNA of the Citi Hoppa brand and the need to deliver the best service to customers not in word but in deed. We are excited to pilot test this new electric bus technology and see how it performs as part of our regular bus operations. We believe passengers will particularly enjoy the quiet and comfort of commuting on the electric bus, and we know these buses can have a positive impact on our environment. This innovation is timely as it gives bus operators an alternative to the regular diesel buses,” said Githaiga Weru, Operations Director, Citi Hoppa.
“These electric buses are much easier for our drivers to operate while also offering a much better experience for passengers,” said John Moses Kamau, Director of Finance at East Shuttle. “With the possibility of less maintenance and avoiding the cost of diesel fuel, these buses address many of the hassles our owners face and should be better for our business overall.”
BasiGo also announced that it is now taking reservations for the first production units of the K6 Electric Bus. The K6 is a 25-seat, 250 km range electric bus that recharges in less than 4 hours. The K6 is designed by BYD Automotive, the largest manufacturer of electric buses in the world. Through BasiGo’s unique Pay-As-You-Drive battery financing program, owners can purchase the K6 for Kshs 5 million plus a daily subscription fee equal to Kshs 20 per kilometre which includes the cost of leasing the battery, nightly charging at a BasiGo depot, and service and maintenance for the electric bus. Customers can reserve the K6 electric bus with no deposit and no cancellation penalty. BasiGo shared that delivery to customers of the first locally assembled K6 Electric Buses will begin in the second half of 2022.
BasiGo is an electric vehicle technology and financing company working to bring electric bus services to sub-Saharan Africa. Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, the company offers state-of-the-art electric buses from BYD Automotive along with charging and maintenance services for bus operators in East African cities. BasiGo also makes electric buses affordable to operators through an innovative financing model that allows operators to pay for the battery and charging separately from the bus through a “Pay-as-you-Drive” financing arrangement. BasiGo began pilot testing electric buses in Nairobi in early 2022.
City Hopper owns the “Citi Hoppa” and the “Citi Hoppa Next” brand names. The firm began operations in March 2004, with 4 buses. It grew exponentially in the next two years with a focus on larger capacity buses and consistent superior service. It boasts of a fleet of over 250 buses serving commuters within Nairobi City County and its environs.
City Hopper offers both PSV and Private Hire Services to customers and serves individuals and Corporate Institutions within Kenya with capacity of 27,33,41 and 51 seater vehicles.
Eastlands Eagles was established in 2010. Since inception, it has been driven by a desire and a vision to sanitise operations and customer experience in the industry, by fabricating comfortable shuttles and emphasis on customer service and making the Matatu business attractive to Investors as we managed the highly capitalised business and transferring the chaos from the investors to ourselves. It has since grown from two to three directors with a fleet of three units at inception to currently a fleet of 45 matatus.