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The Waiting List For Rwanda’s Ampersand Electric Motorcycles Is Now At 7000!

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The Ready Checklist For Rwanda’s Ampersand Electrical Bikes Is Now At 7000!

Ampersand electric motorcycle

Printed on August nineteenth, 2020 |
by Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai

August nineteenth, 2020 by Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai 

In East Africa, the bike is the dominant mode of motorized transport. In Kenya, for instance, bike registrations began to develop significantly in the country in 2007. 16,293 bikes had been registered in 2007, and 140,215 bikes had been registered in 2011. Registrations began to indicate robust progress once more from 2017 with 186,434 bikes registered in that 12 months. A document 210,103 bikes had been registered in 2019. This pattern might be seen throughout East Africa. The variety of bikes is anticipated to continue to grow exponentially as demand soars because of the progress of the on-demand supply market in addition to the bike taxi (Boda Boba) trade.

Ampersand electric motorcycle

Picture courtesy of Ampersand

Rwanda-based Ampersand desires to assist all these bike riders swap to electrical and assist them lower your expenses and the atmosphere on the identical time. Ampersand’s CEO, Josh Whale, (JW) provides us an replace on Ampersand’s progress in Rwanda:

CT:  How is the electrical Boda enterprise going?

JW: It’s going nice! We’re excited to have led the creation of a brand new sector in Africa and a brand new period in mobility. We’ve confirmed that we will put a motorcycle on the highway that’s higher and cheaper, and simply occurs to be electrical. Now we’re able to develop. We’ve had 20 electrical bikes on the highway for over a 12 months now. Collectively these motorbikes have now coated the space to the moon and again. We’ve had 7000 Kigali bike taxi drivers get on our ready record, and the President of Rwanda additionally introduced that each one motorbikes in Rwanda would turn into electrical. Then Covid got here alongside. That threw a spanner within the works for positive, and we’ve had buyers stroll away on the final minute. However we’ve been weathering the storm and making good use of our time. We’ve additionally raised important grants within the interim. Now we’re now elevating a Collection A spherical to take our resolution to scale.

CT: The Bodas are made in Rwanda, or imported as is?

JW: Our Bodas are imported as elements from a number of suppliers and assembled in Rwanda. We design and construct the battery packs ourselves. Our fleet of linked batteries, automobiles and community of swap stations can also be run on a proprietary software program platform, which we created ourselves in Rwanda.

CT: Is your essential mannequin to transform previous bikes to electrical or to usher in new fashions?

JW: Our essential mannequin is to promote new bikes. We’ve constructed conversions, however these make much less financial sense total. After you take away the petrol drivetrain from a used taxi bike, there isn’t a lot worth left after a 12 months or so. There’s loads of further work to make sure that it’s roadworthy, and questions on who’s then answerable for what. Alternatively, putting in our electrical drivetrain in a brand new chassis from an current petrol mannequin (with out the petrol engine elements) typically makes good sense, and we’re glad to work with OEM producers.

CT: What’s the prime pace of the bike, and what’s the vary of the bike?

JW: Our present technology of motorbikes has a prime pace of 80kph, the identical because the incumbent 125cc bikes right here. The present vary is 65km per cost in actual world circumstances, i.e. the city hilly panorama of Kigali, with a motorcycle taxi driver carrying passengers. Our subsequent iteration can have a prime pace of over 90kph and a variety of 90km. To deal with steep hills, the bikes have a beginning torque of 200nm. That’s extra like a 250cc petrol bike than the 110cc to 150cc petrol bikes utilized in East Africa. Charging typically takes a little bit over one hour. However drivers are already using 12 hours a day and as much as 230km, to allow them to’t wait round for that. Fortuitously, with Ampersand they don’t have to fret about that: A swap solely takes about 2 minutes.


Picture courtesy of Ampersand

CT: What number of have you ever offered?

JW: We’ve had 20 motorbikes out on rent-to-own contracts for over a 12 months now. One other 40 motorbikes will hit the highway by November, with drivers already signed up and paying deposits. We have now a ready record of 7000 moto drivers.

CT: How a lot is every bike?

JW: We’ve designed our pricing mannequin to match the best way that the overwhelming majority of drivers at present pay for his or her bikes and gasoline, however with a lot with decrease costs. That retains the worth proposition and maths good and simple to know for the shopper. In Rwanda meaning bikes are paid off over 18 months on a rent-to-own contract. Drivers find yourself paying about $37 per week for the bike, which is fairly typical for the common contract for a petroleum bike. The actual financial savings come from battery swaps, which price a minimum of 25% lower than shopping for gasoline. We additionally present a service package deal for $5.25 per week for upkeep, which is sort of half of what drivers usually pay. That comes with roadside help and a loaner bike if their restore takes greater than 45 minutes. Drivers right here are inclined to cowl 130-200km per day, so service is a giant part and drivers will attain the standard lifespan for a single-cylinder bike inside 1-2 years. We’re now understanding a sale worth for the bike, however it will likely be just like the petrol bike worth. General, drivers save a minimum of $500 a 12 months. That’s loads of money round right here.

CT: How does your battery swapping mannequin work?

JW: We use a battery swap mannequin from a community of low-cost swap stations. These work like a cross between a petroleum station and a System-1 pit-stop. We’ve carried out over 15,000 swaps at these stations now. Drivers pay based on how a lot energy they use, identical to shopping for gasoline. All funds are cashless by way of the type of cell phone money methods which are widespread in Africa. These work quite a bit just like the ‘pay as you go’ distant cell cost tech that’s used within the photo voltaic house system trade that common CleanTechnica readers could also be aware of.

Its nice to see that Ampersand is definitely assembling the bikes in Rwanda and bringing in a lot wanted job alternatives. The corporate’s ready record of over 7,000 reveals that the demand for these electrical bikes within the nation is large. A number of nations, together with Kenya and Uganda, are actually in an enviable place of getting extra electrical energy technology capability, with over 90% of this capability coming from renewable power. This places the area in a pleasant place to essentially have an effect in reducing down emissions within the transport sector.

Ampersand electric motorcycle

Picture courtesy of Ampersand



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Tags: Africa, Africa e bikes, Africa electric vehicles, Africa EV adoption, co2 emissions, East Africa, EV adoption, EV adoption Africa, EV sales, Kenya Grid, Kenya Grid Electricity, Rwanda, Rwanda Electric car, Rwanda Electricity Access, South Africa EV adoption

In regards to the Writer

Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai has been fascinated with batteries since he was in main faculty. As a part of his Excessive College Physics class he had to decide on an elective course. He picked the renewable power course and he has been hooked ever since.

At college he continued to discover supplies with purposes within the power house and ending up doing a PhD involving the research of radiation injury in Excessive Temperature Fuel Cooled Nuclear Reactors. He has since transitioned to work within the Photo voltaic and Storage trade and his love for batteries has pushed him to obsess about electrical automobiles.


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