Financial services company Watu Credit has announced a new partnership with battery swap startup ARC Ride, aimed at accelerating electric vehicle (EV) adoption in Kenya.
Together, the companies plan to manufacture 1,000 EVs and establish over 300 battery swap stations in Nairobi by the end of 2024. Battery swapping allows EV drivers to quickly exchange depleted batteries for fully charged ones at stations, eliminating charge time.
Watu Credit, known for providing motorcycle loans, views EVs as essential to the future of transportation. By investing in ARC Ride’s research and innovation, it aims to deliver locally-optimized electric bikes and make EVs more accessible through swap station infrastructure.
Currently, ARC Ride operates 76 swap stations in Nairobi, with plans to reach 100 by year-end. The stations serve approximately 50 riders daily, providing unlimited battery swaps starting at 350 KES daily. Watu Credit’s finance options can further lower the barrier to EV ownership.
The push for electric public service vehicles (PSVs) and motorbikes is also growing. The government recently signed a deal partly funding electric buses for Nairobi’s transit system. It also approved a discounted nighttime EV charging tariff earlier this year.
With transport producing significant emissions in Kenya, EVs present environmental benefits. However, growth has been hampered by high upfront costs.
Partnerships like Watu Credit and ARC Ride demonstrate the power of private-sector collaboration to spur sustainable innovation. By joining its financing capabilities with ARC Ride’s technical expertise, Watu Credit is working to make emission-free transport achievable for more Kenyans.