Forget the major issues of availability of electricity and so on. Kenya, along with the rest of sub-saharan Africa, is among the countries that would most be affected by the whole question of Global Warming. Incidentally, the Kenyan middle class (and the East African middle class in general) is buying cars like never before – nationally, and most are imported.
I am quite incompetent at discussing the intricacies of importing vehicles in Kenya – indeed Karuoro Waithaka (@karuoro) and John Wesonga (@jwesonga) are more competent as a matter of career and interest respectively.
But having looked at these electric cars that we could potentially buy in 2011 courtesy of Business Inside (@businessinside), it occurs to me to wonder, is the Kenyan government giving any special benefits to people who want to import the more efficient cars and is it an issue among car buyers?
I feel like we still pay lip service to the whole question of alternative energy – or we dont quite understand it.Nice to look at though – especially the car called Think, being built by some Norwegians
6 thoughts on “Electric Cars: is Kenya ready?”
Kags, good conversation to have. There is a lot going on out there… and Kenya is not involved – I have not seen a single electric car here. Forget the expensive Tesla Roadster, Think City, Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt… there are cheaper alte…rnatives from China (BYD, etc) and India (Reva, Maruti Eeco Charge, etc). There are also electric motorcycles: lots of Chinese ones, but also top-level Swiss and American ones. Operating such a vehicle is much, much cheaper than traditional internal combustion cars – given battery issues, it is not a solution for public transport or company cars… but it is THE solution for commuters, as long as you have elec in your house. No petrol to pay for; no horrible tailpipe smoke to breath…
Actually, Kags, it isn't in the Kenyan radar. There's a simple reason: we are hungry, sick, jobless and just now in need of basic prosperity – the priority is having a house and a car that we can afford and from a government perspective, an environment that allows us to make enough money to do this.
Also, most of those cars are tiny – not suited for my extended family, carrying gunias from my farm – they are too delicate and not for the hardy African life.
Besides, with KPLC maintaining a more off than on policy, please.
This conversation is quite interesting. I Kenya, the electric is a swag symbol, so to speak; atleast for the few people i know. The government makes alot of money from oil taxes and by promoting electric cars, they will lose this source of revenue. This is the thinking government uses because we as Kenyans have never had a leadership that focuses on the long-term development. If Kenya went green and electric in cars, the economy will benefit tremendously, however, those in government and other interested parties would rather keep the status quo and continue eaening while the majority, who are affected by the oil prices languish in poverty. In additon, our roads are poor and the componets of these cars are delicate. Reparing will be a frequent affair. Just imargine having a SmartCar in Eisleigh (sp).!!! Samantha Osman got apoint there by arguing that the cars are tiny and will not support the African lifestyle. But when you look at the current trends, many families are buying small vehicles, which are energy efficient. The prius (a few are in kenya), is the size of an ordinary Toyota saloon. I got to admit, we still ahve a long way in Kenya before we fully embarace green technology on our roads.
At http://www.cheki.co.ke we've got over 12,000 cars for sale in Kenya right now and none of them are electric! There are a couple of hybrid Prius and Honda cars around town in Nairobi now though. I think the issue here is that electricity penetration per population is around 20% with plans to get to 40%. There is high demand for electrical power for industry and employment, rather than for transportation. I think you'll see the government prioritise energy for households over energy for transport for the time being. Another point is that that while Kenyan motorists are not even enjoying a reliable fuel distribution system, so what hope is there for a reliable electricity distribution system for cars any time soon?
As it is right now, Kenya still isn't completely ready for e-cars. A little work and the installation of proper facilities though, and it sure will be as prepared as any country can possibly be.
Electric cars are more efficient than the general fuel cars. Fuel cars generally cost you more in terms of expenses. Also it never affects the environment like fuel cars, because these electric cars are not smoky.