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Nairobi’s first electric bus debuts as part of a green energy initiative


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A green transportation company in Nairobi, Kenya, showed off an electric bus on Wednesday.

Nairobi is called the “Green City in the Sun” because it is surrounded by many beautiful parks. A Kenyan-Swedish company called Roam wants that name to also mean that people can get around the city in a way that is good for the environment.

It showed off an electric bus on Wednesday in a city where dirty exhaust fumes add to a thick smog.

Dennis Wakaba yelled, “It’s the first electric bus for public transportation in Kenya. We designed it last year and made it with a global partner!”

The Roam project coordinator said, “This is a step toward better public transportation, where people can ride in comfort and enjoy the ride without feeling guilty because there are no emissions.”

The brightly colored bus pulled out into the notorious morning traffic in the city of almost 5 million people, which doesn’t have a public transportation system.

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Most of Nairobi’s public transportation is run by private companies, and Roam said that the electric bus’s prices would be the same as those of its dirtier competitors.

Hub for new ideas

Even though there is only one charging station in a city of almost 5 million people, that didn’t stop the Roam team. They wanted to encourage green commuting in a city where minivans that spew out a lot of pollution are much more common.

The 77-seat bus can go as fast as 70 km/h and has a battery pack that lets it go 360 km before it needs to be charged for 2 hours.

It was also made so that everyone could use it and be a part of it.

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“It can fit people who use wheelchairs, the elderly, and… So we get to sit where we want on this bus “Wakaba tells us.

“Nairobi is seen as a leader in innovation, and we think it would be a good place to start and a hub for innovation to put these buses into service,” he says.

Roam, which also makes electric safari vehicles and motorbikes, plans to release 100 electric buses over the next year.

They have also started making plans for a smaller bus to go with the big one.

Green revolution

Eighty percent of commuters in Nairobi use matatus, which are minivans that aren’t well regulated or kept up. They are known for making scary turns and leaving black smoke trails behind their beat-up chassis.

Even though the government has made electric cars cheaper than ever to buy, it is thought that less than 500 of Kenya’s 3.5 million cars are electric.

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The government says that 12 percent of Kenya’s emissions come from the transportation sector, but that number goes up to 45 percent in Nairobi.

This year, another electric transportation startup called BasiGo showed off a 25-seater bus with a 250-kilometer range for the streets of Nairobi.

Kenya gets most of its energy from renewable sources, and by 2030, the country wants to cut CO2 emissions by 32%.

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