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Clean Transport

The First EV Charging Station Connected To Kenya’s New E-Mobility Tariff Has Been Launched

Kenya’s Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) recently approved new electricity tariffs effective April 1st. As part of this latest tariff review, EPRA introduced a special tariff regime for the electric mobility sector. The new e-mobility tariff has been set at 16 Kenyan shillings for energy consumption up to 15,000 kWh during peak periods and 8 Kenyan shillings per kWh during off-peak periods, also up to 15,000 kWh.

16 Kenyan shillings works out to 12 US cents/kWh at the current exchange rate. This is before taxes and other charges are added to the final cost the consumers will pay. This also means the tariff under the TOU program will be just 6 US cents/kWh. The 16 shillings is lower than the general domestic tariff, which is 20.97 shillings per kWh for consumption above 100 kWh, and the small commercial tariff, which has been set at 20.18 shillings/kWh for consumption above 100 kWh. The e-mobility tariff is also fixed until 2025/2026.

BasiGo is an e-mobility company bringing the future of clean, electric public transport to sub-Saharan Africa. BasiGo is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, and has moved quickly to take advantage of the new e-mobility tariffs. BasiGo has just launched a first-of-its-kind, high-power DC fast charging station for electric buses in Buru Buru, Nairobi, Kenya. The station has the capacity to charge 6 electric buses simultaneously, but is projected to support 25 electric buses by year’s end. The charging station is the first to be connected to Kenya’s new e-mobility tariff. 

BasiGo offers electric buses, along with charging and maintenance services, for public service bus operators. BasiGo makes electric buses affordable to operators through an innovative financing model called Pay-As-You-Drive, which makes the upfront cost of its electric bus competitive with diesel buses.

Speaking at the launch, Jit Bhattacharya, BasiGo CEO said, “BasiGo is proud to have our Buru Buru charging station be the first connected through the new E-mobility tariff. Every Electric Bus we deploy and charge replaces the consumption of 20,000 Liters per year of imported diesel, with the consumption of 50 MWh of clean, renewable electricity produced here in Kenya. With the new E-mobility tariff, we are able to invest in infrastructure like this charging station and enable the rapid growth of the electric vehicle industry in Kenya.” 

Speaking at the launch, Dr. (Eng.) Joseph Siror, KPLC Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, said, “Here in Kenya, the transport sector contributes to 67% of all emissions in the energy sector and 12% of national emissions. The sector emissions are projected to rise to 17% in 2030. To combat this trend, the E-mobility sector ought to be supported to grow and take off in the country. Being the biggest economy in the region, an innovation hub, and a clean energy global leader, Kenya stands an unparalleled chance to become the launch pad for the rest of the continent when it comes to the growth of the EV sector.”

Kenya Power’s Managing Director and CEO, Dr. (Eng.) Joseph Siror, added that Kenya Power will spend KSh.10 billion (US$73.4 million) during the financial year commencing July 2023 to construct new substations and power lines in order to strengthen the electricity distribution network. He also said the investment is in line with the company’s strategy to strengthen the network for improved quality and reliability of power supply to its customers.

“In the last two years, the country has witnessed an unprecedented interest from local and international stakeholders looking to invest and develop Kenya’s e-mobility sector. To adequately support e-mobility and other sectors of the economy, we will sustain investments to strengthen the grid and enhance network stability and flexibility for quality and reliable service,” he said.

Kenya Power’s customer base has grown tremendously in the last 10 years, from 2.7 million customers to the current 9 million customers. The uptake of electric vehicles is equally gaining momentum in the country, with more than 1,000 electric vehicles currently on Kenyan roads.

“Today, our grid is robust to support electric vehicle charging, with a recent study indicating that Nairobi’s current power infrastructure is strong enough to support the switch to electric for 100% of the two-wheeler vehicles in the city, and 10% for other vehicles including private and commercial fleet. We want to improve this further through strategic investments that will enhance the flexibility of the network to support this growing industry,” said Dr. (Eng.) Siror.

He added, “As the demand for electric vehicles continues to grow, Kenya Power will continue to prioritize generation from renewable energy sources such as solar, hydro, wind, biomass and geothermal as guided by the Least Cost Power Development Plan.” Presently, the country has an installed capacity of 3,321 MW against a peak demand of 2,132 MW. During off-peak, the demand drops to about 1,100 MW. This creates a good opportunity for high capacity electric vehicle charging which utilizes the available unused power.

BasiGo now has 3 charging sites in operation in Embakasi, Kikuyu, and now BuruBuru, with capacity to charge over 20 electric buses. Located on Rabai Road, the Buruburu station will be the home base for electric buses operated by OMA Services and Embassava SACCO.

George Muriithi Githinji, Chairman OMA Sacco, said, “We are grateful to BasiGo for this partnership and entrusting us with 2 e-buses initially and now we are at 4. This is a transformation to our industry in terms of operations efficiency especially with the Pay as you Drive mode, cost effectiveness and environment friendliness compared to our diesel buses. The facility brings efficiency to our model of operations, because of its proximity and has helped us add additional 8-10 trips in our operations, which translates to revenue of around 22,000 ($160) per day.”

Convenient and reliable charging infrastructure is the most critical challenge for electrifying public transport in Kenya. The Buru Buru station is located directly along our customer’s operating routes, making charging convenient and easy for their daily bus operations. Stations like this represent the future of how public transport will be powered in Kenya, and it is made possible through our close working partnership with Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC),” Jit added.

One of the key takeaways from the launch was the announcement that by the end of 2023, BasiGo charging stations will be made open to the public to charge electric cars and trucks. BasiGo plans to deploy charging stations like these across Nairobi and eventually across the country, in order to support the deployment of 1,000 electric buses to Nairobi bus operators over the next 3 years.

Images courtesy of BasiGo

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