Kenyan electric vehicle (EV) startup Roam has introduced a new model of shuttle bus called Move in response to the growing demand for EVs in the country. With the aim of promoting sustainable transport options and combating rising fuel prices, Kenya has been accelerating its adoption of electric vehicles, creating opportunities for companies like Roam to expand their production and charging infrastructure.
Roam plans to deliver 50 Move buses by February 2023 and aims to produce 40 units per month at full capacity. The buses, which have a seating capacity of 42 (expandable to 52), boast a range of 200 kilometers. They are assembled locally using parts sourced from China and are priced at $135,000. Roam’s buses are designed to meet local requirements, with features such as high ground clearance, allowing for customization options based on customer preferences.
The introduction of the Move bus is part of Roam’s strategy to diversify its product line. In addition to manufacturing motorcycles, Roam ventured into the electric bus market and launched Roam Rapid earlier this year. The company’s plans align with Kenya’s intended Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, a project currently on hold. Roam’s main competitor, BasiGo, already operates several EV buses along major routes in Nairobi.
Founded in 2017, Roam initially focused on auto conversions before transitioning to EV production. The company benefits from its in-house expertise in electric powertrain design, enabling more flexibility in product development. Roam has secured support from Silicon Valley fund At One Ventures, Factor[e] Ventures, and pan-African VC firm Ambo Ventures.
While Kenya is taking significant steps to promote EV adoption, the overall uptake of electric mobility in Africa lags behind that of developed countries due to challenges such as unstable electricity grids, lack of charging infrastructure, and high acquisition costs. However, the introduction of the Move bus, along with Kenya’s efforts to build public charging stations, signals a positive shift towards cleaner and more sustainable transportation in the country.
– Kenya Energy Authority