ImaliPay, a fast-growing, venture capital-backed pan-African one-stop financial services platform focused on offering credit, savings and insurance through a single channel or API to African platforms gig economy, recently partnered with eBee to lower barriers for on-demand delivery workers to access cleaner, cheaper-to-use e-bikes. This partnership allows workers in this industry to have access to electric bicycles on favorable terms without having to pay a lump sum for the outright purchase.
eBee is a Kenyan startup created in 2020. eBee offers subscription-based e-bikes for the delivery market. Its vehicle-as-a-service concept makes e-bikes affordable and accessible to people in Africa who use the vehicles to generate income. ImaliPay integrates a marketplace of products and services that are essential for gig economy workers. ImaliPay’s services ensure that informal workers and the self-employed in Africa’s gig economy can access tailored financial services that fuel their work, boost productivity and also allow them to earn more from their work. .
eBee operates a fleet of e-bikes as part of its e-bike plan. The company started with Nairobi, where it has over 100 e-bikes on the road. Under the e-bike plan, eBee retains ownership of the bikes and provides the courier/delivery service with a fleet of well-maintained and affordable e-bikes. Riders can then access the bikes through daily, weekly or monthly subscriptions.
eBee promotes e-bikes as a more affordable, cleaner and more convenient option for service providers operating on heavily congested roads in Nairobi and other major cities on the continent. eBee’s electric bikes are specially designed for the delivery of food and light parcels. Cyclists can keep more of their hard-earned income as they save on fuel costs. Electric bikes also allow a wider range of people to join the industry, as they do not require any license or registration. Additionally, e-bikes are popular with female cyclists, who have traditionally not been very active in the delivery space. eBee’s electric bikes have been specially designed for Africa. They have a range of up to 80 km with a battery that can be fully charged in 3-4 hours on any standard outlet.
ImaliPay and eBee offer a unique combination of financial and income-generating assets allowing gig workers to invest in their own future. Such partnerships will help catalyze the adoption of e-bikes and boost the micromobility economy. E-bikes are particularly effective for shorter journeys in the most congested parts of city centers and are a viable alternative to cover a large part of the journeys currently provided by internal combustion engine (ICE) motorcycles.
E-bikes can make an important contribution to Kenya’s 2030 vision goals for transport and to reducing environmental damage through reduced exhaust emissions from fossil-fueled motorcycles. A paper of Fiona Raje, et al., cites that 39% of CO2 emissions in Kenya come from the transport sector. A 2015 study by the Energy Regulatory Commission, ERC (now called The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority, EPRA) on the “Global Fuel Economy Initiative Kenya (GFEI) Study” cites that emissions from motorcycles under 150 cc are around 46.5 g/km of CO2. In 2020, a 17.4% growth in motorbike and motorcycle registrations was recorded according to the latest economic survey from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS). Motorcycle registrations increased from 210,103 units in 2019 to 246,705 units in 2020. The number of motorcycles registered in 2020 is more than double the number of motorcycles registered in 2016! Replacing some of these ICE motorcycles with more affordable and cleaner e-bikes will go a long way to reducing emissions and improving local air quality. With 92.3% of Kenya’s electricity generation coming from renewable energy sources, these e-bikes will be charged using Kenya’s very clean grid.
All images courtesy of eBee.
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