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Uber working with Opibus to make electric motorcycles mainstream in Africa

The bikes are equipped with swappable batteries

For its initiative, Uber chose motorcycles designed and built in Africa. PHOTO FROM OPIBUS

There is no denying that vehicles powered by fossil fuels contribute heavily to the climate emergency our planet is facing. Ice caps are melting, the seas are rising, and temperature variances are surging. And if those signs aren’t enough, the aftermath of Typhoon Odette is a harsh reminder that climate change is real.

Things are, in some ways, even worse in Africa. Drought has taken away livelihoods, food, water and even lives. While most developed countries are taking their sweet time addressing climate change, one company in Kenya is taking the lead into lessening tailpipe emissions in the country. Opibus, a Swedish-Kenyan electric-vehicle maker is partnering with American ride-share giant Uber to help entice more people to try electrified vehicles.

Opibus bikes can handle punishing terrain in the African bush. PHOTOS FROM OPIBUS

The goal of this partnership is the widespread deployment of electric motorcycles in the continent. For its part, Uber will upgrade its two-wheeler fleet with 3,000 battery-powered motorcycles from Opibus. Designed in Africa for Africa, the robust frame houses dual battery packs that can be swapped to lessen downtime. This helps Uber make that switch to being a zero-emissions company. For Kenya, it could mean reduction of carbon-dioxide emissions by as much as 32% by 2030.

This just shows how a determined private sector and a cooperative government can make even ambitious goals possible. We hope that our government can start effecting changes that could help lessen our carbon footprint as a country. May this be one of the issues we think about when we vote for people in power come next year’s elections.

Red Santiago

A jack of all trades, Red is passionate about cars, motorcycles and audio. He sometimes drives for a ride-hailing app company—just because he really loves driving.