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New report from PREO outlines the market opportunity for e-motorcycles to drive Africa’s e-mobility transition


Electric motorcycles are set to become a driving force in sub-Saharan Africa’s sustainable mobility transformation, but continued investment in start-ups tackling barriers across the value chain will be critical to maximise the full potential, according to a new report from the Powering Renewable Energy Opportunities (PREO) programme. 

Launched in March 2023, the Charging Ahead – Accelerating e-mobility in Africa report outlines the opportunities for e-mobility innovators to spearhead the African market for motorcycles valued at US$3.65bn in 2021 and expected to grow to US$5.07 billion by 2027. 

Quicker and more easily manoeuvrable than four-wheeled vehicles, especially on poor-quality roads, motorcycles also provide stable income opportunities for drivers. However, for the e-mobility sector to meet the demands of a rapidly expanding customer base for two-wheelers, key challenges must be swiftly addressed, particularly around improving the availability of durable hardware, installing reliable charging infrastructure and ensuring access to high-quality battery solutions. 

The report examines the distinct strategies to overcoming these challenges that have been successfully deployed by three PREO-supported companies – Roam (previously Opibus), Mobile Power and Zembo – whose collective efforts are helping to usher in an enabling ecosystem for e-mobility in Africa.  

  • Durable hardware – with over 90% of electric motorcycles sold in sub-Saharan Africa imported from China and India, Roam is manufacturing robust and affordable electric motorcycles better suited to Kenyan road conditions with the support of local manufacturing and assembly.
  • Reliable charging infrastructure – whilst poor grid infrastructure in Uganda means baseline electricity access is often weak, Zembo is building a network of solar-powered battery-swap stations to enable the roll-out of e-motorcycles.
  • High-quality battery solutions – to counter the trend of high-quality battery suppliers prioritising global buyers with high volume orders, Mobile Power has developed clean energy storage products (lithium-ion batteries) that it offers to small-scale businesses such as e-mobility start-ups through a rental model.  

Jon Lane, PREO Programme Director, comments,

Investing in e-motorcycles provides a path to more sustainable and equitable growth across African communities and addresses the urgent issue of climate change. Working with several start-ups, we have identified opportunities for a full ecosystem of solutions that address challenges across the value chain. We hope this report demonstrates the impressive progress being made by companies in the e-mobility sector and will act as a call for investors, policymakers and partners to engage and collaborate to help meet the scale of the challenge.

PREO is funded by the IKEA Foundation and UK aid (via the Transforming Energy Access platform), and is delivered by the Carbon Trust and Energy 4 Impact. To date, it has supported 27 productive-use-of-energy enterprises across 11 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, four of which are in the e-mobility sector.

Click here to download PREO’s Charging Ahead – Accelerating e-mobility in Africa report.

Click here to view the recording of the report launch webinar featuring experts and innovators from PREO’s portfolio