One of the major obstacles to making environmentally conscious decisions is the immediate cost that is involved in many cases. It costs one convenience when you have to choose sort out their garbage and dispose it in the right way. It is inconvenient when for people when a country bans single use plastic bags, like Kenya did in 2017.
This is the case for electric vehicles in Kenya, where adoption has majorly been by enthusiasts and people who want to make a statement. This is because the supporting infrastructure is still in its nascent stage, and you will have some trouble charging your car somewhere between Nairobi and Mombasa.
However, an unlikely disruption is happening. NopeaRide is a ride hailing company that is unique and a first mover, because it runs 100% electric cars in Nairobi. That in itself is something good, but there is more to it.
Price Sensitive Market
Many Kenyans are very price sensitive, and the choice of a taxi service is often informed by the fare that they will be charged. This is where NopeaRide gains an unlikely competitive advantage.
NopeaRide charges lower prices than other ride hailing service, allowing one to save money and enjoy a clean, green ride. If in doubt, just check the price estimates from point A to B and compare it with the prices on NopeaRide app, using similar categories of vehicles with the same safety rating.
One would expect that an electric taxi charges you more, but it is actually the opposite. NopeaRide has the price advantage.
Better Terms for Drivers
Electric vehicles have another advantage that drivers and owners can enjoy. They are easier to maintain because they have fewer moving parts compared to internal combustion engines. An example of this is in use of electric motorcycles for bodaboda, where it was found that riders reduced their maintenance cost by 90%.
But the main catch for electric taxis on NopeaRide is that drivers earn more, and spend virtually nothing on fuel. Drivers earn 50% more than those in other ride hailing platforms. For fuel, drivers can recharge their cars for free at the various recharge stations within the city.
Nairobi is Ideal for Electric Taxis
Why would an electric ride hailing choose to launch in Nairobi and not any other place? One of the reasons for this is the ideal conditions offered by the city.
EkoRent founder Juha Suojanen says that Nairobi has some large population of 4.3 million living in area that is roughly 30 km by 30 km. This puts any point within the range of all electric vehicles, and makes it easy to create an effective charging network. Besides, and ordinary driver in Nairobi also drives for only short distances in a day, hence electric cars can be ideal.
Kenya is already a global leader in using cleaner energy, with 93 of electricity being generated from renewable sources. Perhaps, Nairobi should take the challenge and go all green. NopeaRide has already set the foundation for that.
Next time you are going out, trying an electric taxi.
What do you think?