Bboxx partners with Ampersand to boost electric mobility scheme in Rwanda
Bboxx, a platform providing access to essential products and services, and Ampersand, an e-mobility company delivering sustainable transport solutions in East Africa have partnered to expand Ampersand’s e-mobility scheme in Rwanda.
Following a successful initial pilot in the country, the scheme is now being launched in Kigali, Africa’s greenest city, and will eventually see the provision of ten of thousands e-motos (electric motorcycles) to taxi drivers in Rwanda over the coming years.
The e-motos will be financed by Bboxx using its unique asset financing AI model, and with mobile payments managed using Bboxx’s Pulse©, a fully integrated operating system that streamlines Bboxx’s business operations. Ampersand will provide the e-motos and battery swaps.
The pilot is designed to allow taxi drivers in the Capital to use the motorbikes for their commercial activities at a lower daily cost than with petrol vehicles, an alternative option that could prove to be 40 per cent more profitable according to Ampersand’s data.
The partnership will help Rwanda towards achieving the country’s aims of reducing 4.6m tonnes of CO2 emissions by 2030 and becoming a carbon neutral economy by 2050, with existing moto taxis currently the second biggest emitter of CO2, the equivalent to 32% of total emissions from road traffic .
Through joining forces, the partners have the longer-term aim of delivering millions of e-motos to the roads of Africa, providing much needed clean mobility solutions in Africa’s rapidly expanding urban centres.
Africa is becoming increasingly urbanized – the continent’s population is projected to double to 2.5 billion by 2050, with 950 million additional urban residents by that time. This will require considerable investments in transport infrastructure in cities that currently remain underserviced in this sector.
Due to low overall ownership costs, including upfront prices and fuel uptake, motorbikes currently make-up a considerable amount of traffic on East African roads, with an estimated 5 million in circulation. Moreover, 90% of motorbike purchases in Sub-Saharan Africa are for commercial purposes, with many owners using the bikes for taxi or delivery services.
However, the energy crisis has seen the price of petrol double in a year in some parts of Africa, forcing drivers to reconsider the feasibility of their livelihoods. This has made the option of electric vehicles (EV) more attractive, which are cheaper to run from day one, despite having a slightly higher upfront cost than internal combustion engine (ICE) motorbikes.
It is anticipated that by 2040, 50-70% of all motorbike sales in this market will be electric, or about 4 million e-motos a year. Bboxx and Ampersand’s partnership will support this growth trend, providing a network of motorcycles using a Pay-as-you-drive system accessible through mobile money.
Such a system will provide commercial opportunities for local communities using clean and sustainable technology, with the expectation that EVs will surpass ICE vehicles to become the main method of transport in the future.
Mansoor Hamayun, CEO and Co-Founder of Bboxx, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for Bboxx and we are delighted to be partnering with a like-minded company such as Ampersand to increase access to sustainable mobility across Africa. E-mobility has been a key business priority area that we have been looking to move into for some time, so it’s great to finally achieve this milestone. Ampersand has shown terrific innovation in their business so far and more importantly, share the same core goals of transforming lives and unlocking potential in our quest to reach all of the UN’s SDGs.”
Josh Whale, CEO of Ampersand, said: “Electrifying African transport will take everyone doing what they do best. Bboxx brings the e-mobility revolution decades of experience in bringing pay-as-you-go financing to Rwandans at scale and brings a different choice and approach to the financing options available to our customers. Over half of all East Africa’s road traffic is made up of motorbike taxis, providing a vital and affordable public transport service and source of employment in both urban and rural areas. And nearly all motorbike taxi drivers require financing to acquire their vehicles, and our electric motorbikes are no exception. We’re also excited by Bboxx’s deep experience in structuring financing instruments in smart ways to tap into international capital markets, including the growing wave of climate capital. All this frees up Ampersand to focus on what we do best: Building batteries, expanding our swap network, building software, and building motorbikes – and doing all of this more and better every year. With strategic partnerships like this collaboration with Bboxx, we can help Rwanda to become the world’s first country to electrify more than half their entire road traffic, closely followed by other African countries, and ahead of countries like Norway.”
Ampersand is Africa’s first integrated electric motorcycle and transport energy solution. They have been operating in Rwanda for close to five years and have thus far provided hundreds of e-motos, along with swap stations and charging infrastructure to Kigali, while also expanding their network to Nairobi in neighboring Kenya.