Opibus, a mobility startup, launches the first African-designed electric bus in Kenya

Opibus, a mobility startup, has introduced Kenya’s first all-electric bus. It is also the first African-designed electric bus.

Opibus Proprietary electric vehicle platform 1 702x336 1

Opibus was established in 2017 and is the premier provider of locally-made electric vehicles. Its mission is to develop reliable, cost-effective products for the pan-African market.

To scale its operations, the company raised US$7.5million in equity and grant funding last year. It has now launched its first electric bus to Kenya. This is the first step in its plan for a locally developed and manufactured electric bus that can be mass produced for the pan-African markets by 2023.

Local engineering talent is used to design and develop the bus, as well as local manufacturing partners. The Opibus electric vehicle platform is the core of the technology. It is modular and can be used as the foundation for many types of vehicles. This allows for the development of a bus suitable for African use, both in terms of reliability, durability, and price. This allows for both local and international contract manufacturing to be used to produce a product that is globally competitive, with rapid scaling-up.

Opibus stated that the bus is significantly cheaper than buying fully-built electric buses and has better performance than its diesel counterpart. The bus’s powerful motor provides maximum torque, which enhances performance and allows the driver to accelerate more quickly. The electric bus doesn’t have a combustion engine nor manual gearboxes. This means that oil, filters and gaskets don’t need to be changed. This results in a reduction of 80 percent in maintenance costs compared to a diesel bus.

The first commercially available electric bus will be released in the middle of 2012.

“The platform will then be scaled up for commercial deployment in 10 buses during the second quarter of 2022. We gather valuable feedback in order to improve the product’s market fit. Dennis Wakaba (project coordinator for public transport at Opibus), said that it was a great feeling to be among the first to move in this exciting area.

Initial deployment will be in the peri-urban areas of Nairobi Metropolitan. Several charging points from Opibus’ current range will also be installed along with the bus deployment. These chargers will include both AC (slow) or DC (fast) chargers. The electric bus can be fully charged in less than an hour using the fast charger.

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