Motorcycle sales in Kenya increased further in 2020, breaking the trend where sharp declines in registration were seen in other motor vehicle segments. A 17.4% growth in motorcycles and motorcycles was recorded last year, according to the latest economic survey from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).
The decline in registrations in other vehicle segments could be attributed to the government’s travel restriction to curb the spread of COVID-19. The 2020 closures have caused many people to work from home, and therefore some families and businesses have withheld their vehicle purchases.
However, motorcycle registrations increased from 210,103 units in 2019 to 246,705 units in 2020. The number of motorcycles registered in 2020 is more than double the number of motorcycles registered in 2016! The growth of the motorcycle industry over the past 5 years is illustrated in the list below:
Motorcycle registrations in Kenya in the last 5 years:
- 2016: 119,724
- 2017: 186,434
- 2018: 188,994
- 2019: 210 103
- 2020: 246,705
Source: KNBS 2021 economic survey
The motorcycle segment is now Kenya’s largest vehicle segment, as shown by vehicle registrations in the table below:
Source: KNBS 2021 economic survey
Essentially 99% of those 246,705 motorcycles are ICE motorcycles. There is a huge opportunity to electrify this industry, which is why many startups have launched electric motorcycle pilot programs over the past two years. These companies are preparing to grow and transform the motorcycle industry in Kenya.
Some of the companies leading the way are:
Motorcycles are mainly used as public transport vehicles in Kenya. These motorcycle taxis are commonly referred to as boda-bodas. The motorcycle taxi industry is a vital segment of the Kenyan economy. These biker taxis allow 22 million trips per day. Runners’ average daily earnings are around 700 shillings ($ 6.60). Boda-boda operators collect 980 million shillings per day ($ 9.2 million) and the industry’s annual revenues are estimated at 357 billion shillings ($ 3.3 billion). The transition of this sector to electric will also make a huge difference in the pockets of bicycle owners as well as cyclists. Many startups offer innovative financing arrangements, including models where you can buy the motorcycle and then rent the batteries, reducing up-front costs. Fears of range anxiety are also eliminated by offering battery swap services.
It is also important to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles in Kenya’s largest vehicle segment in order to reduce emissions. Kenya’s network is already very clean. Renewable energies provided 92.3% of Kenya’s electricity production in 2020! By gradually increasing the penetration of electric motorcycles in Kenya, significant savings in CO2 emissions can be achieved. This can be achieved by encouraging the purchase of new electric motorcycles, as well as by accelerating the conversion of old motorcycles to electric motorcycles. By creating products that reduce driver expenses in terms of maintaining, refueling and asset acquisition of motorcycle taxis, for example, these startups will provide a more resilient and sustainable urban mobility solution. Most electric motorcycles are assembled locally, providing much needed employment opportunities. Exciting times ahead for Kenya!
Provided by Remeredzai Kuhudzai
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