The Kenyan government has supported the penetration of electric cars in the country’s transportation system in an effort to achieve green energy.
By 2025, Kenya intends to achieve 5% electric vehicles among the total registered locomotives in the country.
Nopea Ride, Finland’s electric taxi service, has dominated the Kenyan market by expanding its fleet in the country. Experts have argued that they have decreased pollution-related health complications in the city by reducing emissions.
Other startups like Opibus, BasiGo, and Kiri have embraced the Kenyan market with many more still joining.
However, the adoption of electric vehicles has experienced hidden costs which are slowing down goal achievement. These costs play a vital role in decision making and guiding motorists on the choice of the electric car.
Second hand vehicle purchasing culture in Kenya
An electric car costs higher compared to fuel-powered cars. Even though they offer an option, their prices are still higher compared to fuel-powered ones in the country.
The average price of an electric car in Kenya is about Ksh1.2 million. The tricky scenario in the country is, most buyers prefer used cars, which may cost as little as Ksh. 500,000. Manufacturers’ data shows that only a few individuals acquire new cars from car yards.
Maintenance and Repair
Maintenance cost is one of the crucial factors to consider when buying an electric car. As much as they do not need fuel, oil changes or engine air filters, the vehicle requires time to time repairs to keep them mechanical well.
They also contain a coolant that needs to be exchanged and the fluid flushed out regularly, in order to keep the thermal management system conditioned.
However, electric cars have fewer thermal systems that require regular servicing.
In Kenya, mechanics are limited and a few have knowledge about the technology required in repairing electric cars. The repair cost and dynamics should also be highly considered.
The availability of a charging station is also a major factor to be considered before acquiring the vehicle. Most of these cars come with a Level 1 charger that plugs into any 110 household outlet. However, this would take your car weeks to be full.
Level 2 chargers are the preferred ones but their cost is quite expensive. For instance, Level 2 Charger roughly costs Ksh100,000 in Kenya.
Nevertheless, the country has a number of charging stations. Some of the stations are located at Mombasa Road near JKIA, Two Rivers Mall, Viena Court near State House Road, and The Hub Karen.
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Electric Vehicles batteries are the most expensive parts of the car. However, Like any other battery, they wear out over time while buying a new one is extremely expensive. In advanced countries, the batteries are leased to vehicle owners to reduce the cost of acquiring new ones.
Resale value is one of the key factors when selecting a car.
Electric vehicles have low resale compared to fuel vehicles. The reason may be the fact that they’re not yet popular in the country. According to Car World research, a typical electric car will depreciate by 52 % after three years, while a gas-powered depreciate at around 39 %.
KPLC venturing in the sector
The Kenya Power & Lighting Company-KPLC stated in March 2021 that it would build a nationwide network of public charging points, a move that will foster the growth of EVs in the country.
“As part of our implementation plan, we are developing appropriate infrastructure and building internal capacity to enable us to support the use of electric vehicles across the value chain,” said Bernard Ngugi, Kenya Power managing director.