Roam (formerly operating as Opibus) is an electric mobility company with an ambitious goal: to electrify Africa one vehicle at the time. The company aims to provide an electric alternative to the most common means of transportation in Africa – motorbike taxis, also known as “boda-bodas”.
Cheaper and faster than taxis and minibuses, boda-bodas are a fast growing sector and one of the biggest drivers of the Kenya’s economy, providing employment for hundreds of thousands of people just in the capital city of Nairobi.
However, the current fleet of motorbikes are poorly maintained, and inefficient, and they generate low profits for the drivers, who spend at least half of their income on petrol and maintenance costs. The motorbikes also significantly contribute to increasing local air pollution levels and global greenhouse emissions.
Roam received funding from the PREO programme to research and pilot e-mobility solutions for sustainable motorbike transportation in Kenya, as a way to improve the drivers’ net income, provide environmental friendly transportation, create green jobs and accelerate the country’s transition to zero emission vehicles.
Several payment models are being trialled to assess the uptake and long-term business model viability. One of the objectives of this pilot project is also to assess how e-motorbike production can be scaled-up in Kenya to benefit the local economy.