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State eyes policy to speed uptake of electric cars

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Smart electric car charging at a power station in Paris, France. [Getty Images]

Kenya wants to develop a policy to guide the licensing of electricity vehicles and tariffs for recharging the vehicles in a bid to accelerate electric mobility. 

The policy will also be used to decide modalities of setting up recharging infrastructure in busy public spaces, government installations and privately-owned investments such as malls to serve public transport and personal vehicles.

The World Bank is partly funding the development of a national electric mobility policy, coming at a time when Kenya has initiated several policy options to cut vehicle emissions.

The State Department for Transport has started the search for a consultant to help deal with electric vehicle uptake barriers such as high purchase cost, limited driving range, inconvenience of recharging and limited model choices.

“The consultancy will assess and propose how the statutory environment can be structured to support electric modes of transport and prepare a national electric mobility policy for Kenya,” says the department in a tender document.

“In this regard, this assignment will assess key areas in the structural setup that need to be addressed and propose mitigation and incentive options.”

The consultant will also assess the capacity of local dealers, assemblers and small and medium enterprises—including the jua kali sector—to repair and maintain electric vehicles and propose strategies to fill the gaps.

Standards for inspection and maintenance of electric vehicles and mechanism for disposing used batteries will also be proposed in the policy.

The development comes on the back of growing interest in electric mobility, with different entities trying out different models of ownership and applicability.

There are firms importing used electrical vehicles, some are importing and assembling components while others are retrofitting old ones. Some rely on leasing and battery swapping models.

The Kenya National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy developed last year set a target of the share of electric vehicles imported annually to reach five per cent by 2025.

It proposed measures such as lowering import duty for electric vehicles, revision of the building code to incorporate charging stations in public buildings and estates, and introducing tax on cars that burn carbon-based fuels.

Kenya’s National Climate Change Action Plan 2018-22 had identified increased use of electric vehicles as a means of improving mobility with minimal destruction to the environment.

The country has initiated several rules to regulate the impact of vehicle exhaust emissions, including the introduction of more restrictive emission standards. It has also proposed the revision of age limit on imported vehicles.

Increase in the uptake of electric mobility has been prioritised and included in the National Climate Change Action Plan 2018-22 as a mitigation action that can provide ease of mobility with minimal destruction to the environment.

The consultant is expected to advise the State on the impact that increased uptake of electric vehicles is likely to have on the energy grid.

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