ImaliPay, a fast-growing pan-African and VC-backed one-stop-shop financial services platform focused on providing credit, savings and insurance through a single channel or API to Africa’s gig economy platforms, recently partnered with eBee, to lower the barriers so workers in the on-demand delivery sector have access to cleaner and cheaper-to-operate electric bikes. This partnership allows workers in this industry to have access to electric bikes on favorable terms without having to pay a flat fee for the full purchase.
eBee is a Kenyan startup founded in 2020. eBee offers subscription-based electric bikes to the delivery market. Its vehicle-as-a-service concept makes e-bikes affordable and accessible to people in Africa who use the vehicles to generate income. ImaliPay includes a marketplace of products and services essential for gig economy workers. ImaliPay’s services ensure informal workers and self-employed people in Africa’s gig economy can access tailored financial services that fuel their work, increase productivity and also enable them to earn more from their work.
eBee operates a fleet of electric bicycles as part of its e-bike plan. The company started with Nairobi where it has over 100 electric bikes on the road. As part of the e-bike plan, eBee retains ownership of the bikes and provides the courier/delivery service with a fleet of well-maintained and affordable e-bikes. Riders can then access the bikes through daily, weekly, or monthly subscriptions.
eBee is promoting electric bikes as a more affordable, cleaner and more convenient option for service providers operating on heavily congested roads in Nairobi and other major cities on the continent. eBee’s e-bikes are specially designed for the delivery of groceries and light packages. Drivers can keep more of their hard-earned income because they save on fuel costs. Electric bikes also allow a wider demographic to enter the industry as they do not require licenses and registrations. In addition, e-bikes are popular with female riders who have traditionally not been very active in the delivery area. eBee e-bikes are specially built for Africa. They have a range of up to 80 km with a battery that can be fully charged in 3-4 hours from any standard socket.
ImaliPay and eBee offer a unique combination of funding and income-generating assets that enable gig workers to invest in their own future. Partnerships like these will help drive electric bike adoption and boost the micro-mobility economy. Electric bikes are particularly effective for shorter journeys in the most congested parts of inner cities and a viable alternative for many journeys currently made by internal combustion engine (ICE) motorcycles.
E-bikes can make an important contribution to Kenya’s Vision 2030 goals for transport, reducing environmental impact by reducing tailpipe emissions from fossil fuel motorcycles. A paper from Fiona Raje, et al., states that 39% of CO2 emissions in Kenya come from the transport sector. A 2015 study by the Energy Regulatory Commission, ERC (now The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority, EPRA) on the “Study by the Global Fuel Economy Initiative in Kenya (GFEI)‘ states that emissions from motorcycles with less than 150cc displacement are around 46.5 g/km CO2. 2020 saw a 17.4% growth in motorcycle and car registrations according to the latest Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) Economic Survey. 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! Replacing some of these internal combustion engines with cheaper and cleaner electric bikes will go a long way towards reducing emissions and improving local air quality. With 92.3% of Kenya’s electricity generation coming from renewable energy sources, these electric bikes are charged via Kenya’s very clean grid.
All images courtesy of eBee.
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