By Guest Author-Dan Thiema
Kenyan-Swedish startup Opibus, in a big reveal, rebranded to Roam Motors. Opibus was established in Kenya in 2017. Their main focus was to convert ICE(Internal Combustion Engine) vehicles to Electric vehicles for safaris, mining and utility markets. They also manufacture Electric Motor cycles and currently have a fleet of 150 motorcycles deployed all over East Africa. Notably, they also deployed their first electric bus this year for their pilot program an testing.
The rebranding comes with an expansion of its vision. Roam motors now has a clear vision that aims to electrify the African Energy and transport system through reliable, accessible and connected products. This means that they will shift their focus to mass utility products such as Electric buses. Roam motor will now be divide into segments. This segments are Roam Motorcycles, Roam Transit(buses), Roam Energy and Charging and Muse(Mining Utility and Safari segment).
The name Roam is intended to reflect the companies ambition toward transforming Africa’s transport sector, and its boldness to deliver disruptive technology. Roam transit will focus on making electric buses optimized to meet the needs of African urban transit with quickest return on investment. The CEO Filip Lövström shares why the rapid urbanization in Sub-Saharan Africa will be a vital part of Africa's infrastructure. "We really think that electric buses are a huge part of how to create this transition to electric vehicles, and how to reduce emissions on both a city and global level," he says.
Roam Motorcycles will focus on making electric motorcyles that are targeted to electrify the bodaboda industry. Roam Motorcycles are already available for pre order with deliveries expected to begin this year.
The Muse segment of its business was its original main focus. Its is what the company has been built around. It aims to electrify safari and mining sector by doing electric conversions for utility vehicles used in this sector. Converting this utility vehicles to electric makes them more silent, meaning safari vehicles can get closer to wild animals without spooking them and noisy mining equipment is made far less noisy.
Roam Energy and Charging segment aims to provide energy solutions not only for the transport sector but also for homes. They will provide products for home solar power solutions. They also aim to provide EV charging for electric buses and battery swapping for Electric motorcycles.
Roam motors expansion of vision and change in structure and vision makes it comparable to popular EV pioneers such as Tesla. This vision poises them to become a leading company in providing energy solutions. Furthermore, policy shifts by the government could see Roam Motors receive billions in investment in the coming years. Roam Motors recently put in an application for a tender to operate electric buses on the BRT system. This came after the government announced that it will be allocating 12 billion shillings for the buses that will operate on the BRT system. The government said the tender will be open for only electric and hybrid buses.
With the biting fuel shortage and increase in prices, it is important to note that companies such as Roam Motors are vital to the future economy of Kenya. Another notable company is BasiGo which aims to sell its buses to local investors. It has already deployed two buses in Nairobi for beta testing. In future these company could play an important role in the development of the Kenyan economy. This could be by reducing our countries dependence on fossil fuels which have been an economic burden on the country. Adoption of electric vehicles means we will be able to source energy for transport from our local grid which is among the leading in terms of proportion of renewable energy generated. This will see significant reduction in costs.
Roam Motors has made some great milestones but a lot of work still remains to be done for them to become a successful and leading provider of clean transport and energy. Also worth noting is that this step of growth by Roam Motors is what has inspired me to write my first blog. I personally look forward to see the growth of this ambitious company to become a disruptor and fulfill its vision. I look forward to writing more articles about the company and the Electric Vehicle industry at large. For more information about Roam Motors visit their website at roammotors.com .
Published for: techtiema.com.