ROAM Company has today launched its first ever electric mass transit bus operations in Kenya at an event held at the Green Park Bus Terminus in Nairobi.
The electric bus can accommodate 77 passengers at a go, can travel 360 kilometres when fully charged, has a wheelchair area with an access ramp, has air conditioning and can be charged directly from the power grid or solar system.
Principal Secretary for Environment and Forestry, Chris Kiptoo in a speech read on his behalf by Michael Okumu, Deputy Director climate change, welcomed the launch terming it as a tool that will help address climate change in Kenya.
“Kenya has chosen the low emission climate resilient development pathway in her pursuit of development. Kenya is committed to reducing 32 percent of gas emission by 2030 which will give a fair share of its contribution to the global emission reduction,” said Kiptoo.
He said that the transport sector is accountable for a large percentage of air pollution, adding that a natural rising population demands for more transport.
“The transport sector currently accounts for about 12 percent of Kenya’s greenhouse gas emissions and its growth dilemma is due to natural population growth and development that increases the demand for transport, especially in urban setups like Nairobi City,” said Kiptoo.
He termed air pollution as the leading cause of respiratory illnesses especially in urban areas saying that it also affects plants.
“Over five million Kenyans living in major cities and towns are at risk of contracting respiratory illnesses such as heart conditions, brain damage and cancer with an estimated death of 14,300 people annually due to such conditions. It also affects plants and agricultural yields,” said Kiptoo.
Kiptoo stated options that the government is opting for in a bid to arrest the anticipated emission growth and air pollution impacts.
“The Government of Kenya has provided pedestrian walkways and cycling lanes along all newly constructed urban roads that will help facilitate Non-Motorised Transport (NMT) and Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) lanes along major commuter routes in Nairobi City is being implemented,” said Kiptoo.
Kiptoo said that the enabling infrastructural environment is designed to attract green investors, reduce traffic congestion in cities, and help Kenya achieve her emission reduction obligations.
Kiptoo praised the electric bus saying that it needs less servicing and maintenance than a traditional diesel bus, ensuring uptime is maximised, and maintenance costs are kept to a minimum.
“Electric buses such as this will not only help the country save up foreign exchange used in importing diesel but also utilise local electricity improving national business cash flows. It will also eliminate noise and air pollution that will make Nairobi one of the healthiest cities to live in on the globe,” said Kiptoo.
Sweden Deputy Ambassador to Kenya, Helge Flärd lauded the electric bus launch as a result of partnership between Sweden and Kenya. He called upon countries, companies and individuals to find solutions for climate change.
United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) representative, Jane Akumu applauded ROAM company for taking the lead in providing electric mobility in Kenya.
Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) representative Engineer Rosemary Oduor on behalf of KPLC’s Managing Director Engineer Geoffrey Muli said that Kenya has enough power to support the Electric power mobility promising to offer full support.
By Emmanuel Kipkoec and Ella Elizabeth