Uber Drivers to Buy Electric Motorcycles From Kenya’s Opibus

Uber Drivers to Buy Electric Motorcycles From Kenya’s Opibus

Uber Technologies Inc. drivers in Kenya will next year have the opportunity to purchase 3,000 electric motorcycles made by startup Opibus to transport passengers around congested cities such as Nairobi. 

The vehicles will be priced at $1,400 each and drivers will be offered finance to buy them through Uber’s platform, Opibus said Tuesday. 

The electric motorbikes, the first made in Africa, have running and maintenance costs that are 60% lower than vehicles using internal combustion engines, Opibus said. The program represents a step up by the companies to try and cut emissions in the East African country, which has 1.6 million motorcycles registered. 

“By working with Uber, we’ve been able to prove the feasibility for large-scale deployment,” said Michael Gange, co-founder and chief sales officer at Opibus. “Next year we will scale up our production to meet the market demand, both in Kenya and in the region.” 

The moves comes after Bolt Technology OU, a rival to Uber in Africa, signed a deal to enable Nigerian drivers to take part in a lease-to-own plan for 10,000 energy-efficient cars. They will be valued at a much more expensive $20,000 each.

Opibus, founded as a project at a Swedish university and also based in Kenya, said last month it secured $7.5 million from ventures run by former Uber and Alphabet Inc. executives to help it start producing vehicles on a commercial scale in 2022. The company focuses on converting vehicles that use gasoline or diesel to electricity.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.