For Ampersand, an e-mobility start-up in Rwanda, the shift from fossil fuel powered motorcycles to electric ones presents two golden opportunities; saving the environment while boosting the average income for riders.
Founded in 2019, the company has specialized in manufacturing motorcycles targeting the vast motorcycle taxi industry in East Africa popularly known as boda boda.
Ampersand has over five million riders, ensuring its motorcycles are relatively cheaper to acquire and have lower operating cost.
Moreover, the Kigali-based startup focuses on providing affordable motorcycles with a convenient power system.
By June 2023, the company had extended its wings to Kenya and reached a milestone of 1,000 motorcycles supplied to the market.
So far, the Ampersand fleet of motorcycles has covered over 20 million kilometers and helped to reduce the rate of carbon emissions by 100 tons per month.
Furthermore, the number of motorcycles in the market is projected to surpass the 10,000 mark by the end of 2024, according to the company.
Regarding the socioeconomic impact of the electric two-wheelers, statistics from Ampersand state that the income made by its customers has increased by 41% and supports an average of 4 people.
The taxi drivers and delivery riders using Ampersand units earn 50 % more than their counterparts using petrol, according to the company.
Defying the Charging Obstacles
Ampersand adopted the swap battery technology which allows customers to access the charged batteries at convenient stations.
The company has so far set up 25 battery swap stations across Kenya and Rwanda, with the number expected to rise in the coming days.
Time taken to swap a battery, it states, is shorter than the normal time taken to refill petrol-powered engines and costs lower than fossil fuel.
Announcing the 1,000 mark milestone, Ampersand Co-founder and CTO Alp Tilev outlined the company’s intention to ramp up its production.
Tilev noted that they were proud of the achievement and aimed to carry on the legacy.
“We are ramping up local production of our battery packs to meet growing client demand for our e-motos and continuing to innovate for a more sustainable public transport option for East Africans,” the CTO noted.
Nairobi is slowly embracing e-mobility with the country seeing a jump in electric vehicle sales as automakers seek to disrupt the market.