Uber, taxify and other taxi operating firms will experience stiff competition from Nopie Ride taxi services. With the use of electric taxis which require no fuel, the business is deemed to attract many customers due to the lower transport fees. EkoRent Nopie Ride is a Finnish company founded by Juha Soujanen. In an interview with The East African, he said: “We want to break into Nairobi’s competitive taxi market by offering zero-emission rides at lower rates. Kenya has been on the global map for adopting new technologies and that’s why we chose Nairobi as our first overseas pilot city.”
The taxi operators are also shifting to this eco-friendly startup because they don’t have to incur the fuel charges which is the biggest challenge in the transport business. The Nopie Ride taxis contain no engine since they never use gasoline. What do they use? You may ask. The Nope Ride taxis are designed to operate through an electric charge. Since the cars are installed with batteries that show the drivers when the charge is used up so that they can rush to the charging station.
This new technology is eco-friendly, unlike the normal vehicles which emit CO2 to the air causing pollution. The Nope Ride electric cars emission-free due to their zero use of gasoline. The Finnish company expects the profits to grow faster through the primary goal is to streamline the transport sector which is involved with too much congestion and emissions.
In order to allow for efficient services, the company says the drivers need to buy the cars from them because they are specially designed with unique features. In the meantime, they are using their own cars to test their business model, but very soon the cars will be released to the market. They estimate to sell 1,500 electric cars by 2021 and hopefully expand the business to major towns in Kenya. It’s also the business’s goal to spread to the whole of the Eastern Africa region, then much later to the African continent.
The charging stations are currently at two Rivers Mall and the Karen Hub. With time as the business expands, the charging stations will also increase, especially on major malls and shopping joints, in order to harness the transport services. Several drivers say that this startup is a breath of fresh air for them since the fuel prices have been hiking day in day out with the recent 8% VAT tax imposed. So, they will be lucky to save the fuel costs, which the latter taxi operators don’t cover.
26-year-old Phillip Ngari, one of the beneficiaries of the pilot phase of this project confesses that the electric cars are surely a big hit. he says, “In this business, the biggest cost is fuel and the recent rise due to the 8 percent rise in Vat hit us hard. This is because the taxi-hailing apps failed to factor in this cost. So the drivers have to shoulder the burden.
“I saw the opportunity to shift to this electric car model and it has worked well for me. I save $35 daily that I have otherwise used to buying fuel,” concludes Mr. Ngari.
Now that the drivers are free from gasoline costs, the passenger fares will reduce making the economy grow as well as improve the living standards of the people. The European company is here to transform the taxi operations business. Watch this space!