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TRī is an early-stage electric mobility company offering affordable three-wheeled vehicles to professional drivers on a lease-to-own scheme.

Based in Tanzania, where 50% of transportation on the roads is comprised of two- and three-wheeled taxis, the company intends to make it easy and affordable for drivers to switch to electric vehicles. Most taxi drivers are unbanked solopreneurs without access to formal finance, who depend on rented petrol vehicles that cost up to a half of their daily revenues. Ever-increasing fuel expenditure, when combined with high vehicle maintenance costs, is typically pushing their incomes below the poverty line as their net profit drops to just 7% of their revenues on average.

TRī seeks to support drivers to become vehicle owners by offering fully maintained electric three-wheelers through its lease-to-own scheme. This enables drivers to immediately double their daily income from $5 to $10, making the decision to drive an e-vehicle even more enticing. Drivers can also take state-of-the-art speed chargers on the road with them, which enables them to travel up to 200km a day. This innovation reduces anxiety around range limitations often associated with electric vehicles.

Founded by Niko Kadjaia and Kunze Peng in 2021, TRī brings together a team of international experts with a wealth of experience in sub-Saharan Africa. With over 100,000 3-wheelers on the road in Dar Es Salaam, 90% of which are providing a form of transport to the public, TRī has the potential to create a huge impact in the transport sector.

With financial support from PREO, the company aims to demonstrate the validity of its financial model as well as the stability of its operational model. In addition, advancing a widespread transition to electric vehicles has the potential to greatly reduce the carbon footprint of drivers compared to the dominant petrol models, as well as improving air quality and noise pollution in urban areas. As the Tanzanian electricity grid decarbonises, charging the batteries from mains electricity will contribute to fewer and fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

TRī also strongly promotes gender equality in its workforce and through its customer base: 50% of the board and 40% of the management team are women. To further support gender inclusion in the sector, the company also intends to list the women enrolled with the Kinondoni and Ubungo programme for disabled women drivers as preferential customers, to further support gender inclusion in the sector.

For more information on TRī, visit growtri.io

PROJECTS

ECOBODAA

Ecobodaa is a Kenyan e-mobility start-up with a mission to provide affordable, electric motorcycle taxis to riders in Nairobi on a lease-to-own payment plan.

With nearly 1.3 million petrol motorcycles on the road in Kenya, many of which are used commercially as motorcycle taxis known locally as ‘bodaboda’ the opportunity to grow the market for zero-emission two-wheeled vehicles is potentially huge.

Founded by Kim Chepkoit in 2020, in the company’s first 2 years, Ecobodaa tested a set of 10 electric motorcycles with riders from UberEats and other delivery and transport services in Kenya’s largest slum, Kibera. After more than 150,000 km travelled, Ecobodaa was able to gather valuable user feedback to improve the design of the product. Ecobodaa learned that a key for riders considering switching to electric motorcycle taxis is a lack of flexibility in power purchases at the company’s network of 20 swap stations, with many drivers reluctant to make full upfront payment for battery swaps. In response, the company developed a game- changing platform that enables micro pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) payments for energy purchases. As the technology allows drivers to make quick and easy energy payments on the go, it requires no major behavioural change from fuelling petrol motorcycles, thus reducing user adoption barriers.  Given that riders are not required to purchase a full battery-worth of power at any given point, the PAYGO platform offers them more autonomy over the management of their cashflow and reduces digital transaction costs. Moreover, if a rider swaps out a battery with unused power, the value left from their token is transferred to the new battery, ensuring that the driver never loses out. With support from PREO in the form of a financial grant, the company will be able to trial the PAYGO technology and grow its fleet to up to 1,600 electric motorcycles.  

Alongside the company’s aim of scaling its footprint and demonstrating its viability through a successful trial, Ecobodaa is also targeting long term benefits for the local economy, environment and community.

Displacing the incumbent petrol boda-bodas with electric alternatives has the potential to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas and particulate emissions in Nairobi. Ninety percent of grid electricity in Kenya is generated by renewable sources (predominantly hydroelectric) therefore charging the e-bike batteries using mains electricity results in far lower emissions than the use of fossil fuels. This will also bring enormous benefits for air quality in urban areas, by eliminating the output of harmful particulates from the exhaust pipe of the internal combustion engine.

Ecobodaa also intend to create jobs for local young people since 75% of boda-boda riders in Nairobi are currently between 23-35 years old. The company also wants to address the gender disparity among boda-boda riders, as women account for only 3% of the workforce. Working with boda-boda associations, Ecobodaa is targeting increasing the percentage of women riders to 10%. Furthermore, Ecobodaa aim to have all 20 charging/swap stations operated solely by women within 18 months, with women comprising 50% of the leadership positions within the company.

For more information on Ecobodaa, visit ecobodaa.bike

PROJECTS

HINCKLEY

Hinckley Associates, in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and Fan Milk, is spearheading an initiative to produce second life lithium battery packs to power fridge-freezers in Nigeria’s cold chain sector.

Having established Nigeria’s first government-approved e-waste recycling facility in 2016, Hinckley has developed a semi-industrialised recycling facility that processes 10,000 tons of e-waste annually. In 2019, Hinckley partnered with CMU to develop second life and end-of-life solutions for solar lithium battery cells and won the CLASP Global Leap Challenge. CMU, through its Industrial Innovation Laboratory, continues to provide technical expertise and business innovation support as Hinckley’s project partner. The funding received from the Global Leap Challenge has been allocated to training a local, gender-balanced team of ten electrical engineers, who will work on battery and software development in the lab in Lagos, as well as conduct field research.

In March 2023 Hinckley was selected to receive support from PREO in the form of a grant to launch a project that targets reducing uptake barriers and improving outcomes for frozen product resellers. The expert team assembled with CMU will be instrumental in the successful delivery of this project.

Fan Milk, Nigeria’s market leader in ice cream products, is the industrial partner in Hinckley’s project. With over one hundred ice cream vendors and distribution centres across Nigeria, Fan Milk faces persistent challenges in powering fridges, often resorting to costly and polluting petrol or diesel generators. Hinckley’s innovation provides a cleaner and more affordable energy source that can support Fan Milk’s nationwide distribution network for over two years, Hinckley has been offering responsible recycling services to Fan Milk, collecting and processing end-of-life fridges from their off-grid resellers at their recycling plant in Lagos. This has provided Hinckley with invaluable insights into the environmental challenges faced by Fan Milk resellers and has enabled the company to develop processes and expertise in both fridge processing and repurposed energy storage.

To further enhance the project, Hinckley has also partnered with Quadloop, a local solar system manufacturer, to continue the development of solar solutions by using second life batteries.

The project aims to remove barriers for small resellers of frozen products in off-grid settings, which can lead to increased local incomes, more feasible reseller opportunities, job creation for both men and women, and increased social and economic value through clean, modern off-grid energy. The solution being developed by Hinckley is targeted at improving the business operations and profitability of Fan Milk and its franchisees by reducing operational costs, improving reliability of fridges, and increasing revenue through reduced spoilage of stock.

For more information on Hinckley, visit hinckley.com.ng