BasiGo, AC Mobility Partner to Bring Electric Buses to Rwanda.

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Nairobi-based electric bus pioneer BasiGo has made a second appearance in the African market with the launch of BasiGo Rwanda Ltd., a new entity focused on electrifying the public transport system in Rwanda. BasiGo has partnered with AC Mobility, Rwanda’s provider of automated fare collection systems for public transport.

It’s great to see that the fleet of electric buses in Kenya is growing and now expanding to Rwanda thanks to BasiGo’s innovative “Pay-As-You-Drive” model that lowers the barriers to entry for operators to get brand new electric buses. Here is a summary of BasiGo’s Pay-As-You-Drive system: A single daily subscription fee is charged per km driven, billed and paid directly between the operator and BasiGo, includes nightly charging of the battery, includes all standard service and maintenance for the bus, free battery replacement in the event of any battery issue, includes dedicated customer care, roadside assistance, free software upgrades, and more.

By the end of 2024, BasiGo and AC Mobility aim to deliver 200 electric buses to bus operators in Rwanda through this financing model. The expected time of arrival for the first electric buses is October 2023 for pilot testing with Kigali transport operators.

BasiGo and AC Mobility have signed letters of intent for the pilot with Kigali Bus Service, Royal Express, and Volcano Express, three of Kigali’s leading bus operators.

While speaking on the partnership, BasiGo CEO and co-founder Jit Bhattacharya said: “Rwanda has led the way in creating an enabling ecosystem for E-mobility. BasiGo is proud to be partnering with AC Mobility, a technology leader in Rwanda’s transport sector, to help accelerate the transition to electrified public transport. Electric buses will be more cost-effective for operators while also dramatically reducing air pollution and CO2 emissions. Through our Pay-As-You-Drive model, we are excited to bring a complete E-Bus solution to make electric buses accessible and convenient for all bus operators in Rwanda.”

For her part, Clare Akamanzi, CEO of the Rwanda Development Board (RDB), said: “In line with RDB’s mandate to fast-track private-sector economic development in Rwanda, we welcome the BasiGo–AC Mobility partnership to bring electric bus technology to Kigali bus operators as a cost-effective and sustainable alternative to diesel buses. This partnership of public transport technology providers in the region will accelerate the decarbonization of the sector in Rwanda while also alleviating the current public transport shortage. RDB is intentional in its support towards this investment and growing a thriving market for electric mobility solutions in Rwanda.”

Jones Kizihira, CEO of AC Mobility Rwanda, said: “We are excited to partner with BasiGo to drive Rwanda’s public bus electrification. The country has recorded rapid transformation, creating a need for a more robust and cost-effective public transport system. The electric buses will help ease the cost burden of public bus transporters and advance Rwanda’s transition to clean mobility. We look forward to leveraging BasiGo’s experience and network to build a strong electric bus business in Rwanda.”

The Government of Rwanda recently announced an initiative to rapidly scale the size of Kigali’s public transport fleet while also aiming to convert 20% of the public bus fleet to electric by 2030.

Founded in 2021, BasiGo has led the introduction of electric buses in Nairobi’s public transport fleet. BasiGo has sold 19 electric buses to public transport operators in Nairobi and has secured reservations for over 100 additional buses. BasiGo electric buses have driven over 460,000 kilometers and carried over 580,000 passengers. BasiGo has also deployed Kenya’s first DC fast charging stations for electric buses.

BasiGo’s progress is a perfect example of what can be done fairly quickly with the right models and commitment. Established in May 2021, BasiGo has moved quickly from concepts to pilots, to sealing major partnerships with several banks in Kenya, to a new partnership with the Associated Vehicle Assemblers (AVA) in Mombasa to assemble the first 1,000 electric buses in Mombasa (Kenya) over the next 3 years. This partnership will build on the initial agreement where in January 2023 AVA completed the final assembly of fifteen 25-seat electric buses, shipped in partially assembled by BasiGo. These electric buses are set to start operations with Nairobi Matatu operators in the coming months.

BasiGo and AVA aim to manufacture over 1,000 electric buses in the next 3 years, creating over 300 new manufacturing jobs and an additional 300 jobs in the ecosystem of charging maintenance, and financing required to support electric buses in operation.

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