BasiGo, the Kenyan e-mobility startup, has been awarded a generous grant of $1.5 million (equivalent to KES 227 million) by USAID to bolster its operations in Rwanda. This strategic investment is poised to make a significant impact on the electrification of public transport in the country.
The primary focus of this grant is to support the electric bus pilot program, which will be conducted in collaboration with Kigali’s leading bus operators. The ultimate goal is to expedite the widespread adoption of e-buses as a sustainable solution for public transportation in Rwanda.
Excitingly, BasiGo has already taken a crucial step in this direction by having their fleet of electric buses designated for Rwanda arrive in East Africa. These buses are currently en route to Kigali, marking a significant milestone as BasiGo’s first foray into the Rwandan market.
Additionally, BasiGo has forged a strategic partnership with Tap&Go, which is part of the AC Group Rwanda, to introduce 200 cutting-edge E-buses into Rwanda by the year 2025.
Jit Bhattacharya, the Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of BasiGo, expressed gratitude for the USAID grant, emphasizing its role in accelerating the electrification of public transport in Rwanda. He pointed out that the country faces mounting challenges due to rising fuel prices and an urgent need for more public transport options in Kigali. He believes that BasiGo’s innovative Pay-As-You-Drive solution will enable Kigali’s bus operators to rapidly increase the number of electric buses in their fleets. This collaboration between BasiGo, USAID, and the Rwandan government aims to pave the way for a cleaner and more efficient future of public transportation in Rwanda.
The journey toward electrification is set to gain momentum, with BasiGo’s first electric buses scheduled for road testing in Kigali starting in November. These buses will soon be deployed on various Kigali bus routes for passenger operations. The pilot electric buses will be managed by Kigali Bus Service, Royal Express, and Volcano, ushering in a new era of sustainable transportation in the city.
BasiGo is committed to providing comprehensive support, including charging and maintenance services for the electric buses, through their innovative Pay-As-You-Drive model. Furthermore, the startup has joined forces with AC Mobility to integrate its Electric Bus financing platform into the Tap-and-Go fare collection system, which is widely used in Kigali’s public transport buses.
In a bid to make e-buses more accessible, BasiGo is also exploring leasing arrangements with some of Rwanda’s public transport companies. This financing solution allows public bus owners to acquire an electric bus for the same upfront cost as a conventional diesel bus. This initiative not only enhances the affordability of electric buses but also opens doors to securing additional external funding for the project.
Recent statistics indicate that Rwanda’s public transport sector is in dire need of approximately 700 new buses. BasiGo’s contributions are set to play a pivotal role in optimizing and modernizing this sector.
While making strides in Rwanda, BasiGo also achieved a remarkable milestone in Kenya, where they have successfully served over a million passengers as of June 2023. This accomplishment underscores BasiGo’s commitment to advancing sustainable mobility solutions and contributing to the betterment of public transportation systems across East Africa.