Electric vehicle startup BasiGo launches its first electric buses in Nairobi

KENYA – BasiGo, an electric vehicle startup, flagged off its first electric buses for passenger use in Nairobi.

The startup is partnering with Citi Hoppa and East Shuttle in Nairobi for its pilot phase.

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.

“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,” said Kenya Power CEO and Acting Managing Director, Eng. Rosemary Oduor.

BasiGo says the buses arrived in the country in December 2021 and have undergone extensive validation and reliability testing in preparation for the pilot launch.

“With Kenya’s abundant renewable electricity to power these buses, we can make Kenya a global leader in the shift to sustainable public transit,” said Jit Bhattacharya, CEO and Co-Founder at BasiGo.

The launch brought together officials from the Kenyan government, BYD Automotive, and Kenya Power and Lighting Company. Kenya Power and BYD are strategic partners with BasiGo. The buses are designed by BYD, and Kenya Power is set to help with the charging infrastructure.

“We are currently 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,” The Ministry of Energy and Petroleum Principal Secretary said.

BasiGo also announced that they are now taking reservations for the first production units of the K6 Electric Bus.

“We are excited to pilot test this new electric bus technology and see how it performs as part of our regular bus operations,” Citi Hoppa Operations Director said.

“We believe passengers will particularly enjoy the quiet and comfort of commuting on the electric bus, and we know these buses can have a positive impact on our environment. This innovation is timely as it gives bus operators an alternative to the regular diesel buses.”

The K6 is a 25-seat, 250 km range electric bus that recharges in less than 4 hours. Through BasiGo’s unique Pay-As-You-Drive battery financing program, owners can purchase the K6 for KES5 million plus a daily subscription fee equal to KES20 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.

Last month, BasiGo announced a US$4.3 million Seed funding round to help commercialise its electric bus business model and launch local assembly of electric buses in Kenya. The round was led by Novastar Ventures with participation from several Silicon Valley investors including: Moxxie Ventures, Nimble Partners, Spring Ventures, Climate Capital, and Third Derivative.

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