Opibus has just launched Kenya’s first all-electric bus, as well as the world’s first African-designed electric bus.
This is the first big step toward the company’s goal of mass-producing a locally built and constructed electric bus for the pan-African market by the end of 2023.
This is a step toward Opibus’ goal of electrifying Africa’s public transportation system by deploying solutions that are adapted to local needs. The bus is designed and built in-house by local engineering talent, with local manufacturing partners assisting.
The Opibus proprietary electric vehicle platform, which is modular and can be used to build a variety of cars, lies at the heart of the technology.
This allows for the creation of a bus that is suited for African use in terms of reliability, durability, and cost. This also means that local and global contract manufacturers can be employed to quickly scale up a globally competitive product.
This bus will be much less expensive than importing fully assembled electric buses. It does, however, outperform its diesel counterpart in terms of performance.
The bus now has maximum torque thanks to the installation of a powerful motor, which increases performance while allowing the driver to accelerate more quickly.
Additionally, because the electric bus does not have a combustion engine or manual gearboxes, no oil, filters, or gaskets must be changed.
When compared to a diesel bus, this corresponds to an 80 percent reduction in maintenance costs. Total operating expenses are reduced by 50% when power charges are taken into account, which are also much lower than the ever-increasing diesel price. This will transform Africa’s public transportation sector.
“This first electric bus is set to be launched commercially mid this year. Following this, the platform will be tested at scale in commercial deployment of 10 buses during the second half of 2022. In doing so, we ensure that we gather valuable feedback to continue the development of the product for an optimized market fit. It feels great to be the first movers in this very exciting space” – Dennis Wakaba, Project coordinator – Public Transport
The buses will be deployed in peri-urban areas around Nairobi Metropolitan at first, with a business model that allows operators to save money right away.
Along with the bus, a number of charging stations from Opibus’ existing product line will be placed. These chargers will be a mix of AC (slow) and DC (quick) chargers; the electric bus will be fully charged in an hour using the fast charger, allowing for seamless operations.