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Rwanda E-motorcycle startup driving green revolution

Rider at an Ampersand battery swapping station.   -  
Copyright © africanews
Mike Dukes/


Approximately 60% of Rwanda's public transportation relies on motorcycles.

The east-African country seeks to become a beacon for the continent's eco-friendly initiatives. Leading the charge is Rwandan startup Ampersand.

The company unveiled plans to roll out 600,000 electric motorbikes in Kigali, which will be the primary launch site. Nairobi, Kenya, and Kampala, Uganda will be next on the list.

The startup's general counsel explains how it has invested ressources to be competitive in crucial stages of manufacturing.

"There's millions of petrol bikes on the road, our aim is to ensure that in a few years, we only have electric bikes on the road", Alice Rwema says. 

"We have invested heavily in certain developments, we are still investing in for exemple software, we have our own amper ropes which helps in managing swap stations, batteries and this is giving moral confidence in our products."

According to the World Health Organization, the transport sector is responsible for a large proportion of air pollution, as well as being a leading source of greenhouse gas emissions.

As these emissions blanket the Earth, they trap the sun’s heat which leads to a rising of temperatures.

Research has linked extreme weather and the warming of the world.

East Africa grapples with challenges including unpredictable weather patterns.

The Rwanda's e-motorbikes startup operates in a region which grapples with challenges including unpredictable weather patterns.

East Africa already grapples with challenges including unpredictable weather patterns.

The company seeks to make a positve contribution.

"We save 2.5 tonnes of greenhouse emissions per day, each bike does. So if you do a quick math , by the time we do 5 million across Africa, we’ll have saved emissions equivalent to 12 million tonnes per year."

Felix Nishimiye owns one the startup's electrict motorbike. He says it has saved him money.

"I've been using electric motorcycles from Ampersand for almost 3 years", he says.

"I spend less money on these because electric charging is cheaper than buying petrol or fuel. I spend 2000 Rwf (1.58$) to charge my battery and use it for 80km. Before I'd would spend about 5000 Rwf (3.95 dollars) on petrol for a 80 km journey.

With a successful four-year track record, the company’s motorcycles have traveled a combined 180 million kilometers in Rwanda and avoided 8,000 tons of carbon emissions.

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