The African Climate Summit is on this week in Nairobi, Kenya. At the Africa Climate Summit, leaders will be called upon to make ambitious pledges and commitments. A comprehensive “Pledging and Commitment Framework” will be developed to guide these actions. The website adds, “By embracing ambitious ideas and making bold commitments, we have the opportunity to turn the tide on climate change, not only in Africa but also globally.’”
One of leaders who has been promoting the climate agenda on the African continent is Kenya’s President, William Ruto. President Ruto has also been actively promoting the adoption of electric vehicles. Last year, as part of the election campaign in Kenya, electric mobility, utility-scale battery storage, energy efficiency, and green hydrogen featured prominently in election manifestos. The elections were held on the 9th of August 2022. Since then, President William Ruto’s government has reaffirmed Kenya’s commitment to transition to 100% clean energy by 2030. President Ruto’s government is moving to act on some of those election promises in several areas, such as supporting and helping to accelerate the adoption of electric motorcycles for the motorcycle taxi industry, for example. In the recent finance bill, several initiatives were introduced to accelerate the adoption of electric motorcycles, electric bicycles, and electric buses.
President Ruto has really led from the front to promote electric mobility in Kenya. In another show of support for Kenya’s nascent electric mobility sector, President Ruto helped showcase electric vehicles by adopting an all-electric fleet for his motorcade as part of the Africa Climate Week and the Africa Climate Summit. Members of his security team swapped their internal combustion engine motorcycles for some of the electric motorcycles from local electric mobility startups. On Sunday, the 3rd of September, some of the electric motorcycles used by the president’s team in the motorcade were from Roam, Ampersand, and KiriEVs. This was when the president travelled from State House in Nairobi to the summit venue to engage with the youth at the summit. On Monday the 4th, electric motorcycles from Spiro were also used by the president’s team.
The highlight on both days was seeing President Ruto drive himself in a battery electric vehicle from the State House to KICC, the summit venue, as shown in a post on X by Citizen TV. The president drove a bright yellow Autopax Air EV Yetu, which was part of the motorcade along with other electric cars such as a VW e-Golf from local electric vehicle charging network EvChaja.
Two options of the Autopax Air EV Yetu will be offered in Kenya. These are 1) the standard range model with a 17.3 kWh battery that has a stated range of 200 km (124 miles), and 2) the ‘’long range’’ model that has a 26.7 kWh battery, giving a range of up to 300 km (186 miles).
The Autopax Air EV Yetu is a fascinating car and an interesting development for Kenya. That is because the Autopax Air EV Yetu is actually a rebadged Wuling Air from the SAIC–GM–Wuling collaboration. The Air Yetu EV will soon be assembled in Thika, near Nairobi. Yetu is Swahili for “ours,” so its means the car is called “Our Air EV.” This is a great development for Kenya. It is great to see these kinds of collaborations helping to catalyse the adoption of EVs in Kenya.
I think this must be the first time ever that a presidential motorcade on the African continent has been all electric right from the motorcycles to the cars. This is a very big endorsement for the local electric mobility drive by Kenya’s president. It really makes an enormous difference when high-profile people showcase electric mobility, and it will go a long way in helping to raise awareness. I hope more presidents on the continent will do so, and I also hope that they will make some permanent electric additions to their fleet in the near future.
Featured image: Kenya President William Ruto arriving at the Africa Climate Summit after driving himself from State House in an Autopax Air EV Yetu. Image courtesy of Citizen TV on X.
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