Finnish firm, EkoRent Africa, has just announced the launching of Nopia Ride; a full-electric ride-hailing service, in Kenya. In light of the development, Nopia Ride becomes the very first full-electric mobility service in East Africa, as this is the first time electric cars will be available for commercial use in the region.
This move which is expected to check dependence on combustible fuels and reduce strain on the environment as a result of carbon emissions is the first phase of an investment program that is part of a broader attempt to increase the number of electric vehicles on Kenyan roads by a significant amount and encourage the use of eco-friendly means of mobility.
Speaking on the development, Juha Suojanen, EkoRent Founder and CEO, is quoted as saying; “Nairobi is a fast-growing city with considerable traffic congestion. The world bank reports that the transport sector accounted for more than half of all the carbon dioxide emissions Kenya produced in 2014. Nairobi can benefit from Nopia’s electric ride service which helps in solving the problems associated with increasing emission and urban transportation challenges while creating jobs for the populace.”
The commercial vehicles on the Nopia fleet are fabricated with features and furnished with specifications which make them low in life-cycle carbon footprint and eco-friendly. Despite its relatively small size, the car has all the makings of a fast, luxurious ride with four passenger seats and ample trunk space. The batteries on the electric cabs are built to keep the vehicles running for up to a decade or more. And even when the battery’s power capacity becomes inadequate for driving purposes, they can still serve domestic uses – power homes and small appliances.
On the pricing front, the ride-hailing service has designed its model to be affordable for passengers and profitable to drivers. Location and booking of cabs on the platform have also been made accessible through the ride-hailing service’s mobile app which is currently available for downloads. By virtue of its design, the app utilizes current location and final destination information to set the price for each ride. And it also makes provisions for MPesa Xpress as an alternative payment option besides cash.
The launching of Kenya’s first ever full-electric commercial vehicle was spearheaded by Dr. Kepha Ombacho, Kenyan Director of Public Health, who expressed delight at the development while praising EkoRent for its commitment to environmental sustainability, as well as its efforts geared towards fostering an upwardly-mobile Nairobi.
In his words; “In line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, I am happy to see Kenya continue to play her part particularly in the pursuance of sustainable and clean energy.” He further stated; “I urge more players in the private sector to prioritize developing environmental-friendly technologies and complement the government’s efforts on implementing them.”
Image courtesy: DigestAfrica