"We build affordable electric vehicles and charging systems for the three million motorcycle taxi drivers in East Africa, starting with Rwanda. By using a battery swap model, we make it cheaper to buy and operate an electric motorcycle than a petrol motorbike. Going electric will already double a driver’s income now, and leapfrog Africa towards a zero carbon future."
“Every day, East Africa's three million motorbike taxis ride the distance to the sun and back. Twice"
Josh Whale | Co-Founder
Motorcycle taxis are an indispensable mode of transport in East Africa. In Rwanda, more than half of all vehicles on the road at any moment are motorbike taxis. But these motorbikes are not cheap, the fuel they burn is expensive, and they produce serious amounts of pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. In Rwanda, many drivers - or ‘motars’ - spend over $11 daily on fuel and leasing costs, but take home just $1.60 each day.
Designed and Assembled in Africa, for Africa
Our motorcycles are designed to outcompete the incumbent 125cc and 150cc petrol motorcycles on power, durability and performance. Our motorbikes will cost less than petrol motorcycles to lease or buy and about half as much to power. We expect that we will be able to put around $900 a year back into our customers’ pockets from fuel savings alone. That means doubling or tripling many riders’ incomes.
Our customers won’t need to buy vehicle batteries, or wait around while recharging batteries. Instead they will rent batteries from our network of simple battery swap stations. For drivers, these stations which will look and feel like normal petrol service stations. We expect each battery to deliver around 60 km of range and will require swapping out less often than drivers commonly refuel now.
So all we’re asking our customers to do is spend less money and ride a better motorcycle.
Our bikes will also produce 75% less lifecycle greenhouse emissions than petrol motorbikes using grid power, and over 98% less on renewables.
Electric in Africa?
Ampersand has been analysing the potential for electric vehicles in Africa for more than 3 years now. Combining research, customer interviews, and on the road testing we’ve identified an ideal setting and vehicle fleet to go electric first, and the technology and business model to do it profitably at the right price.
Kigali vs NYC
There are more taxi motorcycles in Kigali than taxi cabs in New York City. Imagine replacing this entire fleet in the heart of Africa with electric vehicles.
Each moto driver spends a large chunk of their income on gasoline. With electric power we can offer them a much cheaper cleaner alternative. Our current projections predict a net saving of about $900 a year compared to petrol.
Efficient and clean
We don't like smoke and oil, we believe we can improve air quality significantly in Kigali, all while battling CO2 emissions.
Our first market is Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. With over 22,000 motorcycle taxis packed into a 20km x 25km area, you’ll see more motos here than all other vehicles combined. And with progressive government policies and the highest fuel and motorcycle prices in the region, Rwanda is ripe for the electric age.
We're using state of the art battery technology to provide the riders with a seamless experience to change from petrol to electric. Combining analytics from millions of motor rides in the city to provide the optimum vehicle for the everyday motar.