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BYD and Ampersand to collaborate on electric motorcycles in Africa


Electric motorbike development and deployment in Africa is set to get a significant boost after BYD, and Kigali-based EV energy tech company, Ampersand, signed a landmark agreement on Tuesday.

The two companies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate on the decarbonisation of Africa’s commercial motorbike transport system.

As its primary supplier, Ampersand will purchase BYD’s high-tech battery cells to build around 40,000 electric motorcycles by the end of 2026, with the long-term goal of electrifying a large portion of Africa’s 30 million commercial motorbikes.

The partnership with BYD will enable Ampersand to rapidly scale its electric fleet and its charging infrastructure, which is already the largest in Rwanda and Kenya. This continued scaling will allow Ampersand to meet the increasing demand for commercial motorcycles across Africa as its cities expand and riders increase, providing a sustainable solution to support the continent’s economic growth.

“This partnership marks a major milestone for Ampersand as we continue to lead the charge in providing sustainable, cost-effective, mass-market EV solutions.” Josh Whale, CEO of Ampersand, said.

Electric motorcycle production line, Ampersand factory, Kigali

“BYD’s world-leading battery cells and manufacturing scale, combined with Ampersand’s deep customer insight and technical product knowledge will help fast-track the electrification of Africa’s commercial motorcycles,” he added.

BYD’s cutting-edge lithium iron phosphate (LFP) cells have a long lifespan, an excellent safety record and are affordable for everyday users, making them ideal for mass-market electrification.

Sihai Zhang, BYD Company, said “Ampersand’s electric motorbike technology and charging network, along with its excellent customer understanding, make the company stand out to BYD as the clear pioneer in the electrification of Africa’s transport system.

“Electrifying the intensively used commercial motorcycles found across Africa is a logical first step to decarbonising a very large potential market of motorcycles across the Global South.”

At the same time as decarbonising transport, electric two-wheelers clean up the air and save drivers on average 45% a year on fuel and maintenance, improving lives and livelihoods – driving entrepreneurship and social mobility.

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Nixon Kanali

Tech journalist based in Nairobi. I track and report on tech and African startups. Founder and Editor of TechTrends Media. Nixon is also the East African tech editor for Africa Business Communities. Send tips to nkanali@techtrendske.co.ke.

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