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Africa’s First Electric Vehicle Company Celebrates 250,000Km

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Africa’s first electric vehicle company (Ampersand) on Monday celebrated 250,000 kilometres travelled by its 20 motorcycle taxis in Rwanda.

Infrastructure Minister Claver Gatete said at the event, this is a very good beginning. “All of us, everybody in the country, all policy makers including the Head of State are supporting you…It works, it’s made in Rwanda, we want it in Rwanda and we want it in the region.”

“We are very, very excited that you have reached 250,000 kilometers. I congratulate you for that,” Minister Gatete said.

“With our electric motorcycles and battery-swap model, we make it cheaper to buy and operate an electric motorcycle than a petrol motorbike,” said Josh Whale, Ampersand Founder and CEO, at the Kigali event.

He noted that going electric can already double a driver’s income now, and leapfrog Africa towards a zero-carbon future.

Moto taxis are common on Rwandan roads however, the fuel they burn is expensive, and produce serious amounts of pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. The electric motor bikes could be a solution.

Since its launch in May 2019, twenty Ampersand e-motos have been operating on a commercial basis, taking passengers and goods across Kigali. Drivers rent batteries from a network of Ampersand charging stations around town that they swap out in less than two minutes.

“The whole team at Ampersand is incredibly proud of this achievement. We’ve proven that our electric motorcycles, assembled locally in Rwanda, can replace petrol bikes while doubling drivers’ incomes, reducing harmful emissions, and saving drivers time,” says Whale.

“We couldn’t have reached this milestone without the strong support of the Government of Rwanda and we are looking forward to working together to achieve the first mass-market shift to electric vehicles in the world.”

This event was also attended by U.S. Ambassador Peter Vrooman, German Ambassador Thomas Kurz, Head of DFID Rwanda Sarah Metcalfe, and Director General of REMA Coletha Ruhamya.