MOBILITY

Africa: Across the continent, taxis are becoming green

The taxi industry in Africa is being disrupted by electric automobiles and shared mobility initiatives. Cab-hailing apps have upended the market and made city transit cheaper and safer in just a few years, and they’re going to grow greener.

Kenya’s electric taxi fleet service, Nopea Ride, launched a new EV charging point at Village Market in Nairobi last month, demonstrating the growing demand for electric mobility in the East African country.

The Finnish electric cab company stated in January that it wanted to increase its fleet in Nairobi, helping to cut emissions caused by the city’s notorious gridlock. By the end of 2021, EkoRent, Nopea’s parent firm, expects to have over 1,500 electric vehicles in its ecosystem. Nopea has a competitive advantage over the gasoline-powered vehicles that now dominate the market because to its electric fleet.

“We benchmark our prices with other similar vehicles (size and quality) in Nairobi on a regular basis to ensure we not only deliver environmentally green but also wallet-friendly journeys,” it states on its website.

Unlike Uber, Bolt, and LittleCab, Nopea cars are owned and controlled by the company, and all NopeaRide trips are split 75 percent (to the driver) and 25% (to Nopea).

Nopea charging stations do not charge drivers in the company’s ecosystem for electricity. Nopea Xpress, another EkoRent service, became Africa’s first delivery service with a 100 percent electric vehicle fleet, allowing packets to be sent without emitting any emissions.

In October, Estonian on-demand transportation company Bolt announced that it will roll out electric cabs in South Africa, indicating that the move from gasoline to EVs is occurring across Africa. It happened four months after the company entered the market with e-bike food delivery services.

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Paddy Partridge, Bolt’s regional director for Africa and the Middle East, said, “We are planning to bring out a green taxi category in South Africa in the next few months, and hope to roll out green categories in additional African markets.”

Johannesburg, Pretoria, Polokwane, Cape Town, Durban, Pietermaritzburg, Port Elizabeth, Knysna, Mossel Bay, George, and Plettenberg Bay are among Bolt’s locations.

Electric vehicles make economic sense in Africa, particularly in Kenya, where fuel costs are raised at will. Taxi drivers and owners of electric or hybrid vehicles benefit from higher profit margins and longer service intervals.

Vaya Africa, a ride-hailing mobility company founded by Zimbabwean businessman Strive Masiyiwa, launched an electric cab service and charging network in Zimbabwe in May 2020, with intentions to expand across Africa.

The South African-based startup, like Nopea and Bolt, purchased a fleet of Nissan Leaf EVs and created its own solar-powered charging stations.

Meanwhile, e-mobility companies are now adding cab sharing services to lower both passenger fares and traffic congestion — a vital component of the business in other countries but not available in African markets until now. Uber launched “Chapchap Share” late last month, allowing two people traveling in the same direction to share a ride.

“You can save up to 30% on your Chapchap trip if you share your ride with another rider going in the same direction.” “Even if we can’t find other riders to share with, you’ll still save 5% off your usual Chapchap charge,” said part of an Uber notification.

“You’ll also help relieve congestion and lower carbon emissions in your city by sharing and moving more people in fewer cars.” If you’re traveling alone, keep in mind that you can only order Chapchap Share.”

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A passenger will only be paired with up to one rider traveling in the same direction as them – and no more than one stop – to ensure that pick-ups and drop-offs do not disrupt individual timetables.

According to Uber, neither should “arrive more than 5 to 10 minutes later than a typical Chapchap ride so that you can get underway with ease.”

According to Roland Berger, a Munich-based international management consultant firm, the total global car market will remain ownership-driven – owned vehicles will account for 98 percent of all vehicles in 2020 and 96 percent in 2025 – but new car sales will likely shift.

“In 2020, new sales will shift strongly toward new mobility ideas, accounting for 13 percent of new sales in 2020 and growing to 20 percent in 2025,” according to the company’s industry analysis.

“We expect that between 2020 and 2025, the number of ride-sharing drivers will increase quickly, reaching roughly 57 million.” This equates to a 13 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR).”

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