Kenya Mpya to Offer Nairobians First Electric Matatu Rides

  • A fleet of Neo kenya Mpya buses
    A fleet of Neo kenya Mpya buses
  • Kenya Mpya Bus Company, which is touted as among Nairobi largest Matatu operators, is preparing to rollout the city's first ever electric matatu.

    Brian Chege, whose company Meta Electric was contracted by Kenya Mpya to map out the plan, revealed that the test targeted Thika Road.

    While appearing on African Travelor, Chege disclosed that if successful, the company would phase out diesel buses with exclusive electric vehicles.

    "The first client we have signed so far is Kenya Mpya which is, I think, the biggest bus company in Nairobi. They are testing out electric vehicles along their Thika-Nairobi route with the hope that in future they will replace even their buses.

    An electric car charging
    An electric car charging

    "At the moment, we have provided vans in the market but we are also in the process of bringing buses and mini-vans," he explained.

    He further explained that his company, Meta Electric had amassed knowledge in the technology and for now, it only works with businesses in a B2B model.

    "The thing about this business is that you need to identify what your clients need first and then provide the solutions in terms of vehicles. We are not limited in terms of the vehicles.

    "Once we identify the client, we provide the charging infrastructure around the operation. We will map out the deliver routes and identify where exactly you need to have the chargers set up," he added.

    Chege further estimated that electric vehicles had the potential of cutting fuel costs by up to 80% but purchasing one electric vehicle is 50% more expensive than their counterparts.

    According to Car and Driver Magazine, electric cars have significant advantages over their counterparts that rely on oil as a mode of fuel.

    The cars are better for environment, electricity is renewable, require less maintenance and are quieter during travel.

    Disadvantages, however, are almost always cost related and it is estimated that the charging process takes time while travel distance is shorter as compared to gas counterparts.

    It is estimated that Kenya has less than 200 electric cars and it might take longer for the mode of transport to take root.

    So far, Kenya Power has opened three charging stations in Nairobi and will be setting on a nationwide project installing other charging points along major highways, parking lots and malls.

    The three charging stations in Nairobi are located at the Two Rivers Mall, the Hub Karen and at the Thika Road Mall.

    Apartments along Thika road
    An undated photo of Thika Superhighway, Nairobi