Rwanda is leading the way in innovative technology, supported by a proactive Government who setting the country on the right path for example a plastic ban policy set many years ago.
As the economic growth keeps on a positive trend and the population purchasing power increases, it also comes with its disadvantages. One of the key sectors of concern is transportation, which contributes about 23% of global carbon dioxide emissions as per WHO statistics mainly coming from cars using fossil fuels.
Some countries in Africa and overseas are shifting to green mobility options such as electric bikes, cars etc. Rwanda is definitely not out of the game. A few months ago GURA company was set up in Kigali with a team of diversified expertise and passion for providing e-solutions to the mobility sector.
GURA is starting three types of e-bikes: 1. Electric bikes, 2. Smart Gear-Assist Bikes and 3. Electric Scooters
All of them use electricity and commonly share a mobile App that helps to use it. This a normal bike but using electricity to ride with less efforts. It has a rechargeable battery using solar power panels installed at the docking stations, it can go up to 150km on a single ride without shutting down and allows you to go up on any hill without peddling.
“If you look around you will notice that Rwanda has started putting bike lanes all over and in alignment with Rwanda vision 2030 for smart Green e-mobility in the country we found Rwanda as the most ready country in Africa to start.” said Ike Erhabor, GURA President
The e-bike is not for sale. The model works in a way that many docking stations in a city and by using a mobile App you will be able to locate the nearby docking station as it is also equipped with a GPS. A user will have to purchase a GURA Go Card from many available agents in different cities that will be loaded with an amount of money to be able to unlock the bike. For the user to activate a ride they have to use either a mobile App equipped with a QR code scanner or use a GURA Go card.
Image Source - Example image of a solar powered e bike charging station
Being a first technology of this type in Rwanda, GURA is starting its operations in Kigali city, Musanze and Rubavu districts to test the user experience. They have set up partnerships with the ministry of infrastructures and the Rwanda Environmental Management Authority. This initiative is a key ingredient in support of the the Kigali city decision to establish a car free zone in the city center.
The e-bike can, if adopted in major cities, reduce the congestion/ traffic jam and the fact that it does not leave a carbon footprint and still rides faster, makes it a perfect solution for the transportation sector.
In Kigali city, the home delivery services are emerging, mostly in the food and restaurant sector. However, there is no ride that goes below $1.2 so the e-bike is obviously cost-effective as the base cost is $0.22 (RWF200) every 30 minutes. That means for someone who would be is a delivery business would do many trips, narrow down the costs at the same time not polluting the environment.
GURA is also targeting larger communities such as universities and estates whereby they are promoting the usage of scooters to ease the mobility within the campuses, starting with the University of Rwanda in the southern province branch.
It’s not only the e-bike that GURA has brought on board, but also have SAFI motorcycle that uses electricity to ride and it is expected to conquer the market as the e-bike as well.
The global e-bikes market was estimated at $16.34 billion in 2017, and is expected to rise up to $23.8 billion by 2025. There is high potential for the African governments to set policies that encourage green mobility and the investors are likely to jump into this new booming business sector.
At the recent Africa Tech Summit in Kigali, and Michaella RUGWIZANGOGA, CEO - Volkswagen Mobility Solutions Rwanda, confirmed that Volkswagen is moving to manufacturing electric cars by 2022. It seems like in the near future most big car manufacturers such as Volkswagen, Ford are preparing for their biggest move to electric cars, why would the bike industry be left behind?