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The Electric Touch!

Updated: Apr 6, 2023



Over the past two years we have seen a surge of interest in the electric mobility field in Kenya. More investors, policy makers, researchers, private and public companies etc. have shown great interest in accelerating the adoption of electric mobility in Kenya. This is evidenced by the growing number of people using electric vehicles, the development of favorable policies for electric mobility, the growing number of investors setting up electric mobility companies and the almost weekly workshops or webinars trying to create awareness on electric mobility.


Despite these numerous efforts it appears as though the uptake of electric mobility, specifically electric bicycles has been rather slow. And being the cycling addicts that we are, we wanted to know why and how we can help.



Last week Critical Mass Nairobi's Cyprine Odada had a meeting with Sten Van Der Ham, the CEO of Ebee bikes at their offices in Kilimani, Nairobi. They discussed the current trends in electric mobility in Africa as well as the current status of the electric bicycle industry in Kenya. Both Sten and Cyprine appreciated the efforts of different industry players working hard to create a favorable environment for electric mobility. However, both Sten and Cyprine agreed that although the current e-mobility climate in Kenya was positive, there was still a lot more focus on electric cars, buses, motorcycles, tuktuks and less on bicycles.


It was clear that there was need for stakeholders in the cycling industry to play an active role in securing the mobility space for electric bicycles or risk being left behind.


One of the things that stood out from the discussion was the lack of data that could be used to explain the current trend in electric bicycles in Kenya. It was agreed that it was important, at the very least, undertake a study to understand people's perceptions towards electric bicycles. Understand their fears, concerns, desires, challenges, hopes etc. From here it will be easy to know if indeed the slow uptake of electric bicycles was as a result of initial cost of the bicycles or whether it was a result of other things.


Another topic discussed was the need to have policies that look at the interests of cyclists just as much as they are looking at the interests of investors. Both Sten and Cyprine agreed that there is a need to ensure that global safety standards are adhered to so as to avoid risking the lives of cyclists and other road users, or transforming the country into a dumping site for faulty electric bicycles.


After the meeting Cyprine was given a tour of the Ebee facility where she was shown some of the old bike models plus the new models that Ebee team has been working on. Lastly, Sten had stated earlier that their main motivation behind Ebee was to create employment for Kenyans and we are glad they are doing so the Bike-way!


Over the coming weeks Critical Mass Nairobi will undertake a study to try and understand the current trends in e-mobility, specifically electric bicycles. This is data that we hope will guide investors, policy makers, private businesses, cyclists or any other interested stakeholders.


Critical Mass Nairobi is a non-profit organization based in Nairobi, working to transform Nairobi into a cycling city.


Learn more about our past activities from our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram social media platforms. There's a lot about us that you probably don't know.


If you would like to support our work or work with us, please get in touch via email at info@criticalmassnairobi.org



Latest news: Our very own CEO, Cyprine Odada was awarded as one of the Remarkable Women in Transport in 2023!




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