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IZI Rwanda Launches Electric Buses in Kigali

IZI Rwanda Launches Electric Buses in Kigali

IZI Rwanda, an e-mobility company, has announced the delivery of five electric buses to Kigali. These buses will be tested in the fleets of Kigali Bus Services (KBS) and other local operators as part of a pilot project aimed at electrifying public transport in Kigali. This project is expected to cost a fraction of previous estimates.

The population of Kigali has increased by 50% since 2013, but the number of operational buses has significantly decreased. This decline is mainly due to the rising cost of diesel and capped ticket prices, which require 80% occupancy just to cover fuel costs. As a result, the fleets of Public Transport Operators (PTOs) have gotten smaller, causing some commuters to wait up to two hours, which negatively affects their quality of life and productivity. Moreover, vehicle emissions contribute 13% of Rwanda’s greenhouse gas emissions, making it crucial to switch to clean transport immediately.

Rwanda’s government has pushed for electric vehicles in public transport, but high costs and lack of maintenance facilities hinder Public Transport Operators (PTOs) from adopting them. IZI’s e-mobility-as-a-service model provides a solution. Bus operators can access IZI’s ‘Pay As You Go’ service for a low per kilometer fee, which includes a fully electric vehicle, charging infrastructure, full vehicle servicing, and training. This approach can save transport providers up to 40% on operational costs and help meet the needs of urban population growth.

IZI’s low-cost solution is made possible by a proprietary platform extending electric vehicle battery lifespan. This reduces the overall cost of vehicles by making them last longer. To achieve this, the IZI Connect fleet management system, which currently oversees over 9,000 vehicles in China, monitors battery health and facilitates predictive maintenance. Additionally, on-site battery cell repair and replacement is carried out in a Battery Laboratory.

Charles Ngarambe, CEO of Kigali Bus Services (one of the largest public transport operators in Rwanda) commented “We believe the IZI model service can be transformative to the profitability of our business and drive our expansion”.

IZI claims to have received orders for over 200 buses to be deployed in Rwanda over the course of 2024. Alex Wilson, IZI Chief Executive Officer commented ‘We are delighted to be able to contribute to the Rwandan Governments progressive target of electrifying 20% of their public transport network by 2030. Kigali faces the same challenges as many other rapidly growing African cities and the Rwandan Government’s progressive policy initiatives and investment incentives electrification ambitions and support make Rwanda it an ideal country to pilot IZI’s pioneering e-mobility model.’ 

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