Bolt plans Sh100m investment in e-mobility in Kenya


Bolt co-founder Martin Villig (third right) hosts Kenyan delegation in Tallinn, Estonia.

Photo credit: Pool

Taxi hailing company Bolt plans to deploy at least Sh100 million in the Kenyan market as it looks to embed electric mobility (e-mobility) solutions in its offering. Currently, the company has 40 electricity powered bicycles (e-bikes) being used for deliveries in Nairobi.

Bolt co-founder Martin Villig says that the plan by the Estonia-headquartered taxi hailing firm is to ensure that within the next 12 months Kenyans will have the option of hailing electric powered vehicles through the app as the firm looks to cut its carbon footprint and align with ongoing plans for an e-mobility framework in the country.

Mr Villig was speaking on the sidelines of the ongoing Tallinn Digital Summit while hosting a delegation from Kenya led by the Principal Secretary in charge of Performance Management and Delivery Services, Anne Wang’ombe.

“We start the EV transition from smaller vehicles such as the two and three-wheelers which are more affordable. We will work with electric car manufacturers to see what are the more affordable and reliable models for the drivers. We will also work with banks to enable financing. In the next two or three years, we think that electric two- or three-wheelers will be more visible,” Mr Villig says.

The Kenyan delegation visiting Bolt Headquarters sampled e-mobility solutions, including e-scooters, even as questions emerged about Kenya’s infrastructural readiness to tap the same at scale.

“The means the infrastructure of charging stations and battery swapping opportunities will be necessary. On the food delivery side, we already have e-mobility solutions. On the ride hailing side, it might take a year or so and we have different projects in the pipeline and we hope to announce something before the end of this year,” Mr Villig says.

On August 11, Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen gazetted a fifteen-member taskforce tasked with the generation of a report which will guide Kenya’s roadmap on e-mobility, including proposals on economic interventions such as tax incentives which would catalyse uptake of e-mobility solutions.

Bolt also says it has partnered with the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) to clean up its registry of drivers and weed out rogue elements following concerns over safety while using the platform.