Taxi motorcycles are widespread across Africa: affordable and adapted to local roads, they are nonetheless polluting and the lack of financing solution limits drivers’ revenue (they must pay daily to rent their work tool).
At the same time, solar PayGo has revolutionized energy access for domestic use, while the world is seeing an exponential increase in electric vehicles, leading to major cost reductions. Therefore, there is a momentum to replace gas motorcycles by electric ones, selling them by PayGo: Zembo enables the transposition of this successful model to mobility.
We design and operate this innovation, selling electric motorcycles and recharging them in solar recharge stations through our battery swap model (a discharged battery against a charged battery). Fares are equivalent to or cheaper than a gas motorcycle. And drivers own their vehicle at the credit’s end, doubling their revenue.
Zembo (Zero Emission Motorcycle Boda): an innovative sustainable mobility solution for Africa.
Zembo in Uganda
Motorcycles number is shooting up in Africa, including Uganda with more than 600 000 vehicles. The challenge is to make them sustainable, both regarding driver’s revenue and air pollution. Electric motorcycles with solar recharge and PayGo are the solutions implemented by Zembo.
- Taxi drivers mostly rent their vehicle today, putting a strain on their revenues: Zembo offers an affordable financing solution and secures the instalment payment thanks to a PayGo controller.
- Fuel is replaced by lithium batteries: Zembo operates solar recharge stations, distributed over the territory; drivers swap their empty battery against a recharged one.
- Fares are similar to gas motorcycles today and they will be significantly cheaper tomorrow thanks to electric vehicle cost reduction.
At the end of the project, more than 200 electric motorcycles will be on the road and the model will be ready to scale up.
The transition of Solar PayGo to a productive use in mobility is a major innovation for access to energy services. We adapt existing solutions to motorcycles (secured billing system both for vehicle and energy) and implement a smart energy management system across recharge stations.
The first impact of the project is socio-economic with a notable increase of drivers' income. The second impact is environmental: locally, the project avoids fine particles emission; globally, its carbon footprint is largely positive, replacing fuel with solar energy. Finally, local authorities are involved in the project since the beginning in order to align Zembo’s objectives to their local road-map.
Zembo is one of the bricks that will make Kampala
now the second most polluted African city
a sustainable city: it provides a clean mobility solution adapted to its specificities and profitable for motorcycle taxi drivers. In a second time, it makes this solution accessible to all drivers across Africa, enabling the migration of the gas motorcycles fleet to electric.