BasiGo, the first company to introduce electric buses into Kenya, has announced $6.6 million in new funding led by Mobility54, the corporate venture capital arm of Toyota Tsusho; Trucks VC, a transportation-focused venture capital fund in Silicon Valley; and Novastar Ventures, a global VC supporting entrepreneurs transforming markets in Africa. The round also includes investment from Moxxie Ventures, My Climate Journey (MCJ), Susquehanna Foundation, Keiki Capital, and OnCapital. The new round brings BasiGo’s total funding in 2022 to $10.9 Million and will enable the company to begin commercial delivery of locally manufactured electric buses and charging infrastructure through the company’s unique Pay-As-You-Drive financing model.
“BasiGo is thrilled to have the backing of investors who are leaders in the automotive sector and climate finance,” said Jit Bhattacharya, CEO of BasiGo. “Over 90% of Kenya’s electricity already comes from renewables. Yet Kenya’s transport sector relies entirely on imported petroleum fuels. By electrifying Kenya’s public transport, we can make an immediate dent in climate emissions, clean up the air in our cities, and give bus owners relief from the rising cost of diesel. With this new funding, BasiGo is ready to bring the benefits of state-of-the-art electric transport to all people in Africa.”
Kenya’s public transport sector is home to over 100,000 privately-owned buses and minibuses, often referred to as matatus. BasiGo’s electric buses have driven over 110,000 kilometres and carried over 140,000 passengers as part of fleet operations with two Nairobi bus operators: Citi Hoppa and East Shuttle. BasiGo has already received over 100 reservations from customers, and recently announced partnerships with KCB Bank and Family Bank to provide up to 90% financing to owners for purchase of an electric bus.
“We strongly believe in the potential of electric buses in Africa” Takeshi Watanabe – CEO of Mobility54 said in a statement. “BasiGo’s strong capability to implement the concept and its cutting-edge technology is the key to transforming conventional diesel buses to environmentally-friendly electric buses. We are extremely excited to build a solid partnership with BasiGo, and to support their growth by fully leveraging the business assets under Toyota Tsusho and CFAO.”
The greatest barrier to electric bus adoption in emerging markets is the high upfront cost. BasiGo’s Pay-As-You-Drive model allows owners to purchase an electric bus for a similar upfront cost to a diesel bus. Operators then pay BasiGo a KES 20 ($0.17) per kilometre subscription fee which includes leasing of the E-Bus battery, charging at BasiGo charge stations, and comprehensive service and maintenance provided by BasiGo. With recent increases in Kenya’s fuel prices, Nairobi bus operators are currently paying an estimated KES 30-50 ($0.25-$42) per kilometre for diesel fuel alone.
“At Trucks, we back entrepreneurs building the future of transportation. We invested in BasiGo because their Pay-As-You-Drive platform is the key to electrifying and modernising the massive informal public transport market in Africa,” commented Jeff Schox, General Partner of Trucks VC.
BasiGo’s next 15 electric buses will be delivered in January and will enter operation with many of Nairobi’s largest bus operators. BasiGo is already deploying high-power, DC fast-charging stations at strategic locations across Nairobi to support this expanded fleet. The company reports that all buses delivered in 2023 will be locally assembled in Kenya, and aims to have over 1,000 electric buses deployed in Kenya by the end of 2025.
Sapna Shah, Partner with Novastar Ventures shared: “BasiGo has grown in leaps and bounds since Novastar’s initial investment in February 2022 – a hugely successful 6-month electric bus pilot, 100+ electric bus reservations from Nairobi’s leading public bus operators, local financing agreements with leading Kenyan banks, commercial order and production of 15+ electric buses and a strengthened team. We are excited to continue partnering with the exceptional team at BasiGo as they enter this next growth phase and welcome new investors, especially Mobility54 and Trucks VC, to this exciting journey.”