I have been quite bullish on the transition to electric mobility on the African continent. That’s because there are quite a number of factors that will help catalyze the transition at a much faster pace than most expect. Unlike in developed nations where the transition is taking off big time — especially in the electric car sector and driven mostly by a supporting environment including a suite of attractive incentives such as the famous Norway incentives, or the tax credits in the USA that have been revitalized through the inflation Reduction Act — in Africa, the transition will progress mainly due to some positive unit economics in certain critical sectors that offer a huge addressable market. One of these sectors is the motorcycle taxi industry.
The motorcycle sector in Africa is one of the largest vehicle segments on the continent. There are over 27 million ICE motorbikes registered across Africa, with around 80% of them used in the motorcycle taxi industry. Many operators in this industry face rising costs and dwindling profits due to high operational costs associated with frequent oil changes and maintenance services for internal combustion engine motorbikes, as well as the ever increasing cost of petrol. This has resulted in a lot of attention being given to solutions for the electrification of the motorcycle taxi industry on the continent. Spiro, the largest EV platform in Africa, says that by switching to electric motorcycles, the riders in this industry can save up to $360 per year. Most of the savings come from reduced fueling and maintenance costs.
Another major enabling factor for the transition in the motorcycle sector in Africa is an already well-developed financing and distribution ecosystem for unlocking growth at scale, thanks to several platforms built over the years from the times of small home solar system and other bundled services.
One of the leaders in this space is Bboxx. Bboxx is a data-driven super platform, transforming lives and unlocking potential by connecting consumers and deploying innovative products across Africa. Bboxx says it is championing the economic empowerment of Africa, accelerating the transition to the digital economy, and creating new markets.
“We have built Bboxx Pulse®, a fully integrated operating system, and combined it with an extensive on-the-ground network to connect customers with clean energy, clean cooking, smartphones, e-mobility and selected financial products – many for the first time. We are connecting both underserved rural communities and aspiring urban ones with a highly convenient and affordable way to access life-changing solutions, through last mile logistics and data-powered innovative financing methods. We offer our services on a pay-as-you-go basis to households, businesses, and communities, enabling African consumers to unlock their potential.”
In a major development for the electric motorcycle sector on the African continent, Bboxx today announced a new partnership with Spiro, to accelerate and democratize the continent’s clean mobility transition.
Underpinned by Bboxx’s innovative asset financing model, the alliance will accelerate the delivery of EV motorcycles (e-motos) to customers whose livelihoods depend on access to inexpensive transport across East and West African markets. Bboxx becomes the largest asset financing option for Spiro motorcycles — Bboxx’s asset financing will enable 10,000 individuals who depend on motorcycle access to power their livelihoods.
This deal with Spiro adds to the data-driven super-platform’s roster of service providers, fast-tracking the deployment of e-motos and other innovative products across Africa. Rapid rollout is possible through the utilization of Bboxx’s massive distribution network, and combined with Spiro’s reach, customers will be able to swap e-moto batteries when they require a new charge at Bboxx’s shops and distribution centers throughout Rwanda.
E-motos are in high demand, owing to their low running costs, but most times have a high purchase price relative to traditional internal combustion engine equivalents. Through this new alliance, Bboxx Pulse®, the company’s proprietary integrated operating system (which currently processes around 40 payments per minute), enables Bboxx to profitably extend financial services with a low entry point to previously underserved communities. In addition, it provides a ready-made on-the-ground network for Spiro to reach new customers.
Mansoor Hamayun, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Bboxx, said: “Together with Spiro, Bboxx is accelerating Africa’s access to EVs – only our data-driven super platform, with its extensive on-the-ground network and ability to innovatively finance underserved communities, is able to deliver the services and products that will drive our markets’ climate transitions whilst transforming lives and livelihoods.”
Bboxx adds that the e-mobility mission is less about convenience and more about imperative. Owning an electric motorcycle supersedes owning a traditional ICE motorcycle due to its low running costs, meaning that thousands of customers whose businesses and livelihoods depend on motorbikes will reap the benefits from the noticeable difference in price, while contributing to their country’s decarbonization efforts. Flexible payment plans, delivered through Bboxx, adapt to customers’ fluctuating incomes, allowing them to pay more when they can afford it and less in the lean times.
The customer’s safety is paramount. Bboxx and Spiro have together developed an on-boarding process with technical testing, speed and safety training, and access to protective clothing, including helmets.
Bboxx and Spiro are entering urban and rural markets together. In doing so, they acquire a new set of customers. These customers will benefit from the suite of accessible products and services that Bboxx provides. They will have open access to connectivity and energy at a discounted rate. Only in partnership with strong operators like Spiro and Bboxx can governments successfully electrify urban transportation.
Jules Samain, CEO of Spiro, said: “This partnership with Bboxx marks a significant leap in our journey to revolutionise Africa’s transportation landscape. By leveraging Bboxx’s extensive distribution network, we’re able to provide affordable and sustainable transport options, empowering countless communities while making significant strides in Africa’s clean mobility transition.”
Speaking on their progress on the continent so far, Jules Samain adds, “We have now achieved 9200 deployed electric motorbikes across Benin, Togo, and Rwanda. Our riders have driven 80 million KM of emission free journeys. We have also passed 2 million battery swaps and in the process have reduced carbon emissions by 4000 tons in our first year.”
After several years of pilot programs in the electric motorcycle sector from various startups in different countries across the continent, we are starting to see more progress towards scaling these initiatives along the journey towards mass adoption of electric motorcycles.
Images courtesy of Bboxx and Spiro
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