The journey towards adoption of electric bicycles that have become a popular mode of transport especially in developed countries is slowly taking root in Kenya with individuals and companies embracing E mobility to reduce cost and beat traffic especially in urban centers. They are also embracing the bicycles as a way of championing clean energy in the transport sector in order to reduce carbon emissions into the environment.
Meet one Paul Muhia a young innovator from Desai Ngara Nairobi redefining urban transport by running a local assembly of electronic bicycles.
”Jua e bikes innovation is a transport solution that is zero emission as it does not rely on fossils fuel as opposed to the normal bodaboda bicycles that are being used around” he said.
“Jua e bike is just a normal bicycle that we convert by using some conversion kits to electrify it… our bicycles being electric are charged by electricity which is over 90% renewable energy,” he added.
E bicycles which is being slowly embraced in the country represents an emerging sustainable mode of transport for the future, they are a great mode of real transportation since they don’t release any harmful emission to the environment, only light peddling or no peddling is needed passé.
“Transport sectorEmission contributes to 42% in Nairobi alone so you can imagine how polluted our environment is,” he said.
“Matatus, buses, trains , motorbikes and even trains are the main modes of public transport in Nairobi, these modes of transport do use fossil fuels which are a danger to the environment, so our Jua e bike solution presents almost an answer to this pollution problem” he says.
Paul who is a co-founder of Jua e bike company also known as Powward company that develops electronic bicycles says Jua e bikes have a throttle, a battery and a mortar which he says helps one to push further, he says the bicycles can also be fully electric, which means that one doesn’t need to peddle when the bicycle is in a full electric mode.
“Our motivation was driven by the covid19 pandemic where we had an influx and demand for delivery, we had a friend who used to deliver using a normal bicycle…. he was really struggling to deliver sometimes…doing enough research I was able to discover that electric bicycles were being used for delivery abroad and that got us thinking of copy pasting that idea in the Kenyan market” he revealed.
27 year old Paul , a graduate of electrical and electronics Engineering at Dedan Kimathi University of technology says a lot still needs to be done in terms of consumer education as there is still a slow uptake of the electric bicycles among Kenyans.
“Most of my clients are foreigners…for Kenyans there is a lot of consumer education that is needed but the uptake is good. …. the most expensive Jua e bike goes for 99 thousand shillings,” he said.
But despite facing a myriad of challenges he says there is a massive opportunity for anyone who wants to use the bicycle for whatever economic activity.
Speaking to Ghetto Radio while he and his team of technicians were busy inspecting the latest iteration of the latest bicycle dubbed e bike Paul reveals that for the past one year he has been perfecting the design and efficiency of the bicycles.
“When charged for hours they store enough electricity for an entire day giving cyclists cycling range,” he assures.
“So after our pilot of three bikes in 2020 which was quite successful we sold them to our three friends, we later sold 10 bikes…as of now we have 20 bikes on the road” he says.
Paul intimates that the move to embrace green energy mobility in the country though timely faces myriad hurdles the challenges he says vary from policy ,and even infrastructure.
“Our roads do not have in plan the accommodation of cyclists, many of them have died on our roads due to reckless drivers who show no respect for the riders. We also lack lanes specifically for our riders …we urging the government to look into this issue” he adds.
Paul who showered praise to the Kenya climate Innovation center (KCIC) for believing and funding their project says his dream is to be able to roll out the electric bicycles countrywide in a bid to encourage Kenyans to adopt to clean energy mobility.
In 2019, the e bicycle e market globally was estimated at 1.7 trillion shillings and is projected to grow 7.49 percent annually over the next four years.
BY WEMA TOYWA #WEMA’STAKE