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Green transport : Electric buses in Rwanda

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Green transport : Electric buses in Rwanda

Electric bus market trends in Africa

Urban transport buses account for around 25 % of total transport sector emissions. Preference for this type of public transport is set to increase by almost 50 % by 2030. Electric buses only help to reduce CO₂ emissions if the electricity is generated from a solar grid.

The government’s objective being to limit the production costs of public transport, buses equipped with batteries are set to dominate the market quite quickly. Various local startups are building their electric bus prototypes. Which will help African countries create local jobs in the near future, and also boost their economies.

Transition to green transport in Rwanda

The partnership will supply electric buses to transport operators in Kigali, thanks to BasiGo’s innovative Pay-As-You-Drive financing model. BasiGo and AC Mobility have signed letters of intent for the pilot project with Kigali Bus Service, Royal Express and Volcano Express, three of Kigali’s leading bus operators. Kenya-based manufacturer BasiGo plays an important role in Rwanda’s transition to greener transport.

BasiGo CEO and co-founder Jit Bhattacharya, speaking on the expansion, says « Rwanda has led the way in creating an ecosystem conducive to electric mobility. BasiGo is proud to partner with AC Mobility, a technology leader in Rwanda’s transport sector, to help accelerate the transition to electrified public transport. Electric buses enable bus operators to avoid rising fuel prices, while significantly reducing air pollution and CO₂ emissions. Thanks to our Pay-As-You-Drive model, we are delighted to offer a complete e-bus solution to make this technology affordable, accessible and practical for all bus operators in Rwanda ».

Chinese technology at the service of development in Rwanda

The company imports fully-built electric buses from China and works with three public transport operators in Rwanda. The pilot phase has been a success, winning over customers who were unfamiliar with the company’s brand, according to Doreen Orishaba, the company’s Managing Director.

« The pilot project was a real success. We had planned to run it for three months, and in those few months bus operators have already seen the benefits of going green. We already have reservations for 132 units », says Orishaba in a recent press release.

This success is made possible by factors such as collaboration with innovative Chinese companies. It’s easier to scale up when fully-built buses are imported, and the sustainable development program is clear.

China is the leading manufacturer of battery technology. A fully-charged bus can travel 300 km without needing to be recharged, while charging stations are installed at specific locations around the capital. The company’s aim is to deliver 100 buses to the streets of Kigali within the next 12 months, and 200 buses over the next two years, each capable of carrying 70 passengers.

Rwandan government promotes the use of electric buses

Electric and hybrid vehicles are tax-exempt, making them much more attractive. The government is also granting a better tariff for recharging electric vehicles. The industrial tariff is applied to electric charging stations, making it one of the best electricity tariff regimes in the country.

However, even with a favorable environment for electric vehicles, there were no electric buses in Rwanda until BasiGo entered the space. The company’s mission is to make electric buses as affordable as possible for operators.

At the heart of the company’s business strategy is the rental model, in which a security deposit per bus is required and the remainder is paid according to the à la carte financing model. These are mileage-based charges, invoiced per kilometer driven. The cost of electricity is included in the total price of the bus, as are regular service and maintenance, making the bus even cheaper.

The Rwandan government recently announced an initiative to rapidly increase the size of Kigali’s public transport fleet, while also aiming to convert 20 % of the public bus fleet to electric by 2030.

Sources : https://www.banquemondiale.org/fr/news/feature/2022/11/17/electric-vehicles-an-economic-and-environmental-win-for-developing-countries


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