BasiGo, a Kenyan-based electric manufacturer, has raised $6.6 million to deliver electric buses following a funding round led by Toyota through its venture capital subsidiary Mobility 54.
The funds raised will aid BasiGo’s effort to provide electric buses for public transport systems in Kenya and the rest of Africa.
Toyota invested $1 million into the project BasiGo, while other participating investors include Novastar; an Africa-focused VC firm, and Trucks.VC, a Silicon Valley-based VC firm that backs startups in the transport sector.
This latest round of funding brings the total amount raised by BasiGo since its launch last year to $10.9 million.
In a statement, Jit Bhattacharya, the chief executive at BasiGo, said, “BasiGo is thrilled to have the backing of investors who are leaders in the automotive sector and climate finance. With this new funding, BasiGo is ready to bring the benefits of state-of-the-art electric transport to all people in Africa.”
“By electrifying Kenya’s public transport, we can make an immediate dent in climate emissions, clean up the air in our cities, and give bus owners relief from the rising cost of diesel,” Bhattacharya added.
In January, the startup hopes to deliver 15 electric bases to Nairobi, Kenya’s capital. BasiGo intends to create more convenient charging infrastructure across the country throughout 2023. The plan, the company says, is to deliver 100 units by the end of next year and over 1000 electric buses operating in Kenya by 2025, all of them being locally assembled.’
“As we prepare to deliver the next batch of e-buses, we are deploying the necessary charging infrastructure to support that expanded fleet. Currently, all of our customers are Nairobi public service vehicle operators and we are deploying charging infrastructure within the Nairobi area to support their operations.”
” In the future, when we begin delivering to customers operating routes outside of Nairobi, we will expand the reach of our charging network beyond the city,” BasiGo CEO Jit Bhattacharya, who co-founded the startup with Jonathan Green (CFO), told TechCrunch.
Toyota also expressed its desire to promote electric mobility in Africa. “Toyota Tsusho will accelerate the electric mobility business by utilizing the innovative technologies of these startups and combining them with Toyota Tsusho Group’s automobile businesses in Africa,” the company said in a statement.
BasiGo driving E-mobility in Kenya
There are 20000 fuel-powered vehicles in Kenya, and they contribute to the air pollution that kills over 18,000 people every year in Kenya. BasiGo intends to reduce this pollution by making electric vehicles accessible for public transportation.
If the public transport system is powered by electric vehicles, most people would not need to move around in their own petrol or diesel-powered vehicles.
The buses will come in 25- and 36-seater capacities, with a range of about 250 kilometres, enough to cover daily round trips. The buses are also a cheaper and cleaner alternative in Kenya’s public transport industry, currently dominated by fossil-fuel buses.
“Over 90% of Kenya’s electricity already comes from renewables. Yet Kenya’s transport sector relies entirely on imported petroleum fuels. By electrifying Kenya’s public transport, we can make an immediate dent in climate emissions, clean up the air in our cities, and give bus owners relief from the rising cost of diesel. With this new funding, BasiGo is ready to bring the benefits of state-of-the-art electric transport to all people in Africa,” said Bhattacharya.
The Kenyan government rolled out a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) network to be operated by green (electric, hybrid and biodiesel) vehicles, presenting a great business opportunity for EV players like BasiGo.
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