The Launch of Kenya's Electric Mobility Pilot during the Fourth UN Environmental Assembly. From Left to right: Huang Jiangsong, Vice General Manager, Shenzhen Shenling Car Company Limited (TAILG), Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o - Governor of Kisumu County, Jochen Flasbarth - State Secretary at German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, and Rob de Jong, Head Air Quality and Mobility at UN Environment.
Kenya’s first electric mobility pilots, launched during the Fourth UN Environmental Assembly, has set the ball rolling for Africa’s shift to electric mobility. Developed together with the Energy Regulatory Commission, the two pilots in the City of Kisumu and with Kenya Power & Lighting Company Limited will see the deployment of a total of 50 electric motorcycles in the country. These motorcycles are donated by TAILG, a Chinese company that recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with UN Environment to support UN Environment’s electric mobility work. It will be the first ever comprehensive electric motorcycle pilot in East Africa serving to raise awareness for electric mobility and to provide crucial data to stakeholders for policy formulation.
Two and three-wheeler vehicles are the fastest growing transport mode in many low and middle-income countries. While Asia has the lion’s share of the global fleet, growth rates of motorcycles in many African countries are some of the highest in the world. Today, the global fleet consists of approximately 300 million motorcycles with annual sales exceeding 50 million. By 2050 the global fleet of motorcycles is projected to comprise approximately half a billion motorcycles, effectively almost doubling today’s fleet.
A majority of motorcycles in East Africa are used as taxis in response to congestion and economic pressures. They are also the largest source of self-employment for urban youth. Shifting towards electric mobility as opposed to fuel-based mobility is an opportunity for youth to maximize on profits from their daily earnings. Electric motorcycles have a much lower operating cost than internal combustion engine, thus a transition to electric would improve livelihood of thousands of youth in East Africa.
UN Environment is also implementing a project funded by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) titled “Integrating Electric 2&3 Wheelers into Existing Urban Transport Modes in Developing and Transitional Countries”. Experts agree that 2&3 wheelers are the priority in moving to electric mobility as they provide net carbon benefits regardless of electricity-carbon mix. This project will see to a transformative integration of electric 2&3 wheelers into existing urban transport modes via piloting and development of a comprehensive policy framework in Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Philippines, Thailand and Viet Nam.