Ampersand, an electric vehicle company, is beginning electric motorcycle taxi (e-Moto) trials in Rwanda due to be launched in 2019.
Following 2.5 years of research and development, it is testing four different e-Moto models, specifically for motorcycle taxi drivers- which are so far customerised and already running on streets of Kigali.
The initial e-Moto customer trials, with passengers, show an average 65 km range per charge and a top speed over 80 km/h. The electric motor gives the e-Moto greater torque and carrying power, with it outperforming incumbent 125cc petrol bikes on speed, climbing and acceleration tests.
Josh Whale, Ampersand founder, says, “This may be the world’s first truly mass-market electric vehicle that’s cheaper and better than its petrol counterpart. The biggest opportunity for kicking-off a global mass-market electric vehicle revolution is not sedans for the middle classes of Europe or Japan, but inexpensive motorcycle taxis in Africa and other emerging markets.”
Motorcycle taxi drivers in Kigali cover around 188 km per day. Motorcycle taxis have become indispensable to mass mobility across the continent. In East Africa alone, there are over 3 million people who earn their livelihood as drivers, and many millions more who rely on them to get around.
E-Motos are calculated to generate a 75% net reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions compared to petrol bikes. Per annum fuel savings are projected at upwards of US$900 per bike, more than doubling driver income.
Eng. Coletha U Ruhamya, Director General of the Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA), says, “Rwanda welcomes Ampersand’s efforts to develop clean and low carbon motorcycles for our citizens. As electric motorcycles emit less CO2 than petrol motorcycles, they are the best solutions to air pollution currently affecting our environment.”
Hon. Eng. Jean de Dieu Uwihanganye, Minister of State in Charge of Transport says in relation to the Ampersand e-Moto, “The use of electric vehicles is not a matter of if, but it is question of when and how.”
Final pricing is still confidential, but the e-Moto will cost less than the current petrol incumbents. Ampersand’s turnkey solution will feature motorcycles, a network of charging stations, financing, and after-sales service. Following design and system modifications, the e-Moto will be ready for commercial launch in Rwanda in late 2019.
Factor[e] Ventures is the first institutional investor in Ampersand and is deploying its techno-economic modeling to refine the e-Moto offering and business model.
Seth Silverman, Principal and Director of Africa Operations with Factor[e], says, “Factor[e] believes the time is ripe to extend the benefits of electric mobility to Africa. Ampersand will revolutionize the way Africans power transport by making mass-market electric vehicles cheaper and better than petrol. Two-wheel taxis are the right opportunity, Kigali is the right place, and with the decreasing cost of batteries, the timing couldn’t be better.”
Ampersand is an electric vehicle company, developing mass-market shifts from petrol vehicles to direct, cheaper, better electric replacements. It is currently undertaking electric motorcycle taxi (e-Moto) trials in Rwanda, prior to a commercial launch of the fleet in late 2019.
Factor[e] supports early stage entrepreneurs through a unique blend of risk capital and world-class technical resources. This work revolves around finding, validating, funding, de-risking, and growing a rich pipeline of social ventures that aim to solve profound global problems.