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Kenya Power says has capacity to charge 100,000 electric cars

by kenya-tribune

Kenya Power says it can charge 100,000 electric vehicles (EVs) which is only a fraction of existing fuel-powered vehicles on the road in Kenya.

This means it could take decades for Kenya to grow its power generation capacity to a level that can sufficiently support a mass switch of the country’s more than four million fleets of fuel-run vehicles.

Kenya Power acting managing Director Geoffrey Muli says the company has enough capacity to charge the estimated 1,000 EVs that are currently in the country and can charge up to 100,000 EVs without the need for an upgrade of the existing power generation capacity in the country.

“The University of Massachusetts and the World Resource Institute recently carried out a study to evaluate the readiness of Nairobi’s power grid to handle EV charging demand,” said Eng Muli at an e-mobility forum in Nairobi yesterday.

“The study found that the power infrastructure can fully support a switch of 10 percent of Nairobi’s vehicles including private and commercial fleets which are presently about 1 million,” he said.

This means that Kenya still lags in building the capacity to handle a significant switch to EVs by motorists.

The estimated 100,000 EVs that the Kenyan grid can manage to charge are just a tiny fraction of the estimated 4.53 million mostly fuel-powered vehicles that are registered in Kenya.

This comes at a time more Kenyans are buying cars with the number of newly registered motor vehicles rising by 14.2 percent from 94,128 units in 2020 to 107,499 units in 2021, according to the 2022 Economic Survey.

The rollout of EVs in the local market has encountered challenges especially the high upfront cost of purchasing these vehicles as well as the lack of sufficient charging infrastructure in the country.

Some motorists are also reluctant to switch to EVs owing to the relatively low lifespan of EV batteries of about 8 years after which they have to replace them notwithstanding the prohibitive cost of these batteries.

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