Kenya's first electric taxi service NopeaRide closes local operations

Kenya's first electric taxi service NopeaRide closes local operations

A NopeaRide taxi. | PHOTO: NopeaRide/Twitter

  • NopeaRide's parent company, EkoRent, has declared insolvency in Finland and InfraCo Africa Limited, the minority shareholder has filed its liquidation in the High Court of Kenya.
  • The company has taken its fleet of electric vehicles off the road and has notified our staff and corporate clients

NopeaRide, Kenya's pioneer electric taxi company has announced that it is exiting the local market.

This is after its parent company, EkoRent, failed to secure more funding to sustain its operations. The company said that EkoRent had declared insolvency in Finland and that InfraCo Africa Limited, the minority shareholder has filed its liquidation in the High Court of Kenya.

"This is due to the fact that EkoRent Oy was the principal financier of EkoRent Africa Limited and all the technical knowledge on the running of the business lay with EkoRent Oy," said Ekorent in a statement.

"We have taken our fleet of electric vehicles off the road and have notified our staff and corporate clients. We are now working with relevant authorities to ensure that our operations are wound up in accordance with local legislation."

NopeaRide entered the Kenyan market in 2018, with only three electric vehicles and two charges before growing its fleet and charging network the following year.

Towards the end of 2019, the company secured a Ksh.25 million (200,000) funding from EEP Africa, where it acquired additional electric vehicles and chargers.

Even so, Nopea cites the stringent COVID-19 curfew imposed by the government in March 2020 as the onset of its woes.

"Those rules lead to daily kilometers driven by Nopea vehicles dropping approximately 60% over night," it said.

By June 2022, the ride-hailing service had imported 70 Nopea cars into the country, becoming the largest electric vehicle charging network operator in East Africa.

The company even said that it was recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We would like to extend our deepest regret to our dedicated team of staff and drivers. We would also like to thank our loyal NopeaRide customers, corporate clients and other partners who have supported NopeaRide’s vision for electric mobility in Africa," the company added.

Although e-mobility has not been adopted on a mass scale in the country, some EV players have already entered the scene as Kenya looks to transition to clean energy.

This week, Kenya received a fleet of fifteen electric buses shipped by BYD Automotive, the largest consignment of electric buses to the region as the country looks to transition to clean energy.

The buses arrived on Tuesday following a successful trial of two pilot buses which are currently operational in Nairobi.

Roam Motors last month unveiled a 77-seater electric mass transit bus dubbed "Roam Rapid" which has a 384 kWh battery, giving it a range of 360 kilometers and a top speed of 70 kilometers per hour.

The bus, built in Nairobi, will run along Mombasa Road, Waiyaki Way, and the Thika Super Superhighway.

Earlier this year, BasiGo released its 25-seater electric bus, which was designed and assembled with BYD Automotive parts.

The bus features a four-hour charge capacity retention, allowing for a 250-kilometer range before recharging.

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Citizen TV Citizen Digital Electric vehicles NopeaRide EkoRent

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