By Mark Kawalya
BasiGo, an e-mobility startup, has unveiled plans to roll out a fleet of 200 electric buses into the Rwandan market. This is part of the Kenyan firm’s expansion strategy under Basigo Rwanda Ltd., the firm’s subsidiary, which will focus on facilitating the transition of the public transport sector to electric power.
In addition to reducing carbon emissions, these electric buses have the potential to alleviate some of Rwanda’s public transportation issues. The surge in fuel costs has led to the decommissioning of numerous buses, reducing access to public transport for many local residents.
BasiGo will deliver its first batch of electric buses to Rwanda by October 2023, with plans to have 200 buses operational by 2024. The initial fleet will undergo testing in partnership with selected transport service providers in Kigali. BasiGo has partnered with AC Mobility, a reputable player in intelligent transportation solutions.
Leveraging AC Mobility’s influence in the public transportation sector, this partnership is expected to yield positive outcomes, expediting Rwanda’s transition to electric mobility. BasiGo has announced its intention to introduce a Pay-As-You-Drive financial model to ensure affordability for potential partners. Several major public bus operators have already expressed interest through letters of intent for the trial phase scheduled for October.
Jit Bhattacharya, CEO and Co-founder of BasiGo, talked about the company’s interest in expanding into another East African market. He noted that Rwanda’s conditions are conducive to electric mobility adoption.
Bhattacharya emphasized the effectiveness of the Pay-As-You-Drive approach in promoting electric mobility due to its cost-efficiency. This model has already demonstrated success in BasiGo’s home base of Kenya where the company operates 19 electric buses in collaboration with public bus operators. BasiGo is also offering charging infrastructure and maintenance services to support the growing sector.
AC Mobility’s CEO, Jones Kizihira, expressed the company’s eagerness to partner with BasiGo in electrifying Rwanda’s public transportation system. Kizihira highlighted the need for a more efficient transport system in light of Rwanda’s recent progress. The Rwandan government has demonstrated its support for the initiative as countries worldwide shift towards electric mobility to reduce carbon footprints.