An efficient, sustainable, and environmentally friendly transport network is the key to thriving city metros and overall economic well-being. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Unreliable power supply is the biggest challenge in the expected transition from internal combustion engines to electric vehicles, dealers say.
Kenya has attracted a number of start-ups importing a limited number of models of electric cars and buses on a trial basis ahead of the anticipated shift to clean transportation in the coming decades.
The government also halved excise tax on electric vehicles to 10 percent to make them more affordable.
But formal vehicle dealers, who are yet to launch an electric model, say a major investment in the energy infrastructure needs to precede the shift to electric mobility to make it a success.
“There are emerging trends of fully built electric vehicles coming into the Kenyan market. A lot more will need to be done to provide adequate infrastructure to meet the energy requirements,” said Wanjohi Kangangi, the sales and marketing director at Isuzu East Africa.
“Given the current power outages, with unreliable supply for industrial and domestic consumption, this is likely to present a barrier to mass adoption of electric vehicles in the country in the short and medium-term.”
Mass adoption of electric mobility will need a robust national electric grid, with the vehicles requiring charging each time they exhaust their range which can be anywhere from 200 kilometres to 680 kilometres per charge.
Electricity distributor Kenya Power #ticker:KPLC has had a challenge in guaranteeing power availability even in the capital Nairobi.
Despite its operational woes, the company has announced plans to venture into electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
Unless the power supply hitches are fixed, Kenya could be slow to adopt electric transport on a large scale. Most of the global automakers have, however, committed to phasing out internal combustion engines in about two decades.
This means that Kenya will eventually be forced to join the shift to electric transportation.
The formal dealers say they are currently focused on meeting more stringent emissions standards on their models running on petrol and diesel.
“The current focus in the auto industry is to meet the Euro 4 emissions standards in locally assembled vehicles by January 2023 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Mr Kangangi said.
The Kenya Bureau of Standards adopted the Euro 4 emissions controls that place tougher and more comprehensive limits on the emissions of carbon monoxide and other pollutants.
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