Just a month after closing a $4.3 million seed funding round, Nairobi headquartered e-mobility startup BasiGo has today flagged off the first electric buses in the country for passenger use.
BasiGo is an electric vehicle technology and financing startup working to bring electric bus services to sub-Saharan Africa. The startup provides electric buses along with charging and maintenance services for bus operators, making these vehicles affordable through a financing model that allows operators to pay for the battery and charge separately from the bus through a pay-as-you-go financing arrangement.
BasiGo sources electric buses from BYD Automotive, the largest electric bus manufacturer in the world. These buses are capable of travelling 250km on a single charge and offer a more modern and comfortable passenger experience than current diesel buses in Nairobi including USB Charging and WiFi connectivity for all passengers.
The busses were flagged off at the Kenyatta International Conference Center (KICC). The company has partnered with Citi Hoppa and Eastland Eagles as the pilot partners for this project.
“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.’’ said Jit Bhattacharya, CEO and Co-Founder at BasiGo.
‘’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,’’ he added.
Speaking at the event, Dr. Eng. Joseph K. Njoroge, the Principal Secretary of, Ministry of Energy and Petroleum said the government was 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 Managing Director 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 electric buses arrived in the country in December 2021 and have undergone extensive validation and reliability testing in preparation for the pilot launch. They will 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.
BasiGo also announced that they are 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 KSh 5 Million plus a daily subscription fee equal to KSh 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.
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.