EkoRent and Strathmore University join hands to expand access to solar charging for EVs in Nairobi

KENYA – EkoRent Africa (EkoRent), a business supported by  Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) company InfraCo Africa and EEP Africa, a clean energy financing facility, has signed a Solar Charging Project Collaboration Agreement with Strathmore Energy Research Centre through Strathmore Research and Consultancy Centre, establishing a framework for setting up Kenya’s first Nopea SolarHub Electric Vehicle Charging Station.

EkoRent operates NopeaRide, an all-electric taxi-hailing service in the city with 14 grid-tied charging points in six locations across Nairobi: the new solar hub will now enable its vehicles to also charge their batteries using the power of the sun.

Speaking at the signing event, Juha Suojanen, Founder and CEO of EkoRent said: “The collaboration is an exciting next step for NopeaRide in Nairobi. We look forward to cooperating with Strathmore Energy Research Centre, through its dedicated Research and Consultancy Centre, in finding localised solutions to further promote clean mobility in Kenya and Africa. The Nopea SolarHub charging stations on the Strathmore University campus are the first of their kind in Africa and show how it is possible to efficiently combine clean energy and clean mobility solutions. Due to Kenya being located on the Equator and ideal for harvesting clean solar energy, it has great potential to lead efforts towards zero-emissions transport in Africa.”

Under the terms of the Agreement, Strathmore University Energy Research Centre will provide space on its campus for NopeaRide to set up and install a Nopea SolarHub and Electric Vehicle Charging Stations for use by NopeaRide’s 100% electric taxi fleet.

“The SolarHub charging station for NopeaRide’s fleet of electric taxis will reduce traffic pollution and provide increased income for drivers in Nairobi and serve as a model for clean and affordable transport solutions across Africa”

Prof. Izael Da Silva, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation at Strathmore University, said during the partnership’s debut that, “Africa is in the midst of robust technical developments and innovation. We are honored to collaborate with EkoRent Africa in this monumental effort to achieve zero-emission mobility in Africa. Strathmore University prepares students to create projects that address societal issues. Higher education institutions are think- tanks where solutions to societal problems are produced, hence partnering with corporations to advance such revolutionary agendas is critical.”

Commenting on the partnership, Ravi Dhanani, InfraCo Africa’s Asset Manager said that it is great to see EkoRent Africa working with Strathmore University to harness Kenya’s huge solar potential to support the growth of clean transport solutions and sustainable jobs.

“We expect that this initiative will provide learning for InfraCo Africa’s wider EV portfolio and will demonstrate the broader value of combining electric mobility with solar technology in the fight against climate change.”  

Lotta Wilkman, Portfolio Coordinator at EEP Africa, concluded by saying: “We are pleased to support this partnership between EkoRent, a Finnish company pioneering electric mobility services, and Strathmore University, a leading research institution in Kenya. The SolarHub charging station for NopeaRide’s fleet of electric taxis will reduce traffic pollution and provide increased income for drivers in Nairobi and serve as a model for clean and affordable transport solutions across Africa.”

Expected to be operational in H2 2022, the new hub will lead the way in the use of solar power to ensure that electric vehicles further contribute to reducing Kenya’s carbon emissions.

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