Kenya: Solar-powered motorcycles development initiative aims to reduce carbon emission

Author: Deutsche Welle, Published on: 7 January 2019

"Kenya: Solar motorcycles take on Nairobi smog"

Nairobi's reliance on motorcycles is hindering efforts to reduce carbon emissions, as manufacturers struggle to adapt to clean energy technology. But a new solar-powered three-wheeler could help clean up the city's act. According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, more than 190,000 new motorcycles and three-wheeled vehicles were registered in 2017, compared to approximately 66,000 cars. This trend has continued into 2018, with 108,000 motorcycles and three-wheelers registered since January against just 38,000 cars. What's worrying is the fact that these motorcycles — which are increasing in demand thanks to a growing young population in search of employment — produce more carbon emissions than cars...

The government is actively working toward meeting its NDC commitment by focusing on developing cleaner motorcycles. Kenya, alongside Uganda, Ethiopia and Rwanda, is collaborating with the Nairobi-based UN Environment to collect baseline data and develop trials for electric motorcycles and three-wheelers. This will allow these countries to develop the right policy interventions and, it's hoped, introduce more electric motorcycles on the streets...

But a new solar-powered three-wheeler being developed by the Strathmore Energy Research Center hopes to solve these issues by giving back more control to the driver. "The battery capacity when fully charged means that one can drive 50 kilometers [about 30 miles] — if the sun is low, one can peddle home," said Ignatius Maranga, a renewable energy engineer and researcher. "The [three-wheeler] allows one to conduct business during the day and then use the remaining energy to power the home."


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