10 Challenges of Owning an Electric Car in Kenya

File photo of electric cars parked
File photo of electric cars parked

The recent fuel shortage in the country has exposed loopholes in the country's supply chain system, leaving more questions than answers on who is responsible for the crisis.

The crisis, which is yet to be fully addressed, is an opportunity for electric car dealers who can provide an alternative to fossil fuels-powered engines.

However, before owning a fully-electric vehicle, there are some drawbacks motorists are likely to encounter in the country owing to the fact that Kenya has not fully embraced these models. Kenyans.co.ke looks at some of the challenges an electric vehicle owner may face.

Repair Difficulties

Electric bus set to be launched in Kenyan market by BasiGo from March 2022
The electric bus set to be launched in Kenyan market by BasiGo from March 2022

Repairing an electric car is far much expensive in Kenya. There are very few experts and motorists cannot visit just any local shop for fixing. Regardless of the type and the model, all-electric vehicles require specific maintenance and service procedures as well as extremely high safety standards.

Also, in case of a fire incident, the owner cannot use water but a specified fire extinguisher since the batteries burn at a much higher temperature.

Fluctuating Temperature

Electric vehicles always develop issues if exposed to extremely low temperatures without action for long. In places like Limuru, Nanyuki and Meru - which are prone to very low temperatures - electric vehicles may display specific issues from time to time. The most common issue is the loss of battery power.

Highway Driving Consumption

Unlike petrol-powered engines, understanding electric vehicles is quite a task. A driver must understand the energy consumption cycle to avoid running low on charge while on the highway.

Charging Stations

Electric vehicles are a new phenomenon in Kenya and are mostly found in Nairobi. Finding charging stations in remote areas is next to impossible. This makes it hard for motorists living outside the city to acquire them.

Long Trip Issues

In Kenya, there are no proven records indicating if electric vehicles are ideal for covering long distances. Most of the electric cars owned in the country are mostly used for short distances. For instance, Nopea Ride offers taxi services in Nairobi only while BasiGo offers matatu services within the city routes.

Cannot be the Only car in a Household

There are many limits to owning an electric vehicle in general. Most of them cannot fulfill household transportation needs.

This is especially true if you need a dependable vehicle that can get the work done including doing some off road work on rugged terrains.


In Kenya, there are a few policies guiding the ownership of electric vehicles. Insurance companies are still struggling with formulating policies that will fit the use of electric cars.

The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) has also not provided a clear framework guiding the use of electric cars in the country.

Threatening Existing Economy Model

Some economic experts opine that the mass production of electric vehicles and focus on this kind of technology will destroy the current economic model.

That, in turn, will affect Kenyan politics and all the country's monetary systems as well. If the oil companies lose their monopoly on energy and the oil-rich nations lose their authority on the global political scene, the world could be heading to another crisis.

An electric bus from Opibus during a test drive in Nairobi.
An electric bus from Opibus during a test drive in Nairobi.
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