Bolt, an Estonian on-demand transportation company, is planning to launch electric taxi services in South Africa four months after launching e-bike food delivery services.
Bolt’s idea comes after the launch of a ‘green category,’ which allows riders to request an electric or hybrid vehicle. As the organization expands its offerings to include ecologically friendly modes of transportation, this is a good thing.
Paddy Partridge, Bolt’s regional director for Africa and the Middle East, said, “We are planning to bring out a green taxi category in South Africa in the next few months, and hope to roll out green categories in additional African markets.”
In Kenya, where it also operates e-bike food delivery, the company already offers a green option. It also intends to introduce e-mobility food delivery alternatives in its other East African markets, such as Uganda and Tanzania.
The tech firm, which has operations in 45 countries, including seven in Africa, was founded in 2013 by Markus Villig and offers a variety of services such as ride-hailing, car, scooter, and bike rentals, food delivery, and most recently grocery delivery, branding itself as a transportation and deliveries company.
“We see a lot of potential on the motorcycling side in East Africa, especially for distribution.” “We intend to invest more in this approach because it also helps to alleviate the issues connected with continually shifting gasoline prices, which is now our couriers’ most major operational cost,” Partridge said.
According to a UNEP report, the opportunities for electric transportation are vast, but the majority of countries lack the infrastructure to support their adoption.
In many African countries, the adoption of electric mobility solutions is hampered by a lack of charging infrastructure, poor grid power connectivity, and relatively expensive e-vehicles.
According to the SSA Nature Sustainability report, switching to electric power would provide countries in Sub-Saharan Africa with a number of benefits, including more affordable transportation and a reduction in emissions, with fossil-fuel vehicles accounting for 12 percent of the region’s total emissions.
Bolt is in the process of forming partnerships with banks in its African regions to help its drivers obtain financing for the purchase of electric vehicles, as well as looking into alternatives to its present lease program.
“The purchase price and import tariffs are frequently exorbitant, discouraging ownership.” “In Kenya and South Africa, we’re looking into a variety of vehicle finance arrangements for electric cars and bikes that would make it easier for drivers to acquire access to, and eventually purchase, electric vehicles,” he said.
The company’s aspirations to expand throughout the continent come in the wake of increased competition from companies like Uber, which is already testing a carpooling service in Nairobi and aims to expand to Ghana and Nigeria.
Bolt just debuted its meal delivery service in Nigeria, and it has also expanded its reach in South Africa by launching it in Johannesburg after launching it in Cape Town last year.
This follows the company’s recent $696 million (€600 million) funding round, which the tech business claimed will be used to build Bolt Market, its new grocery delivery service, as well as its other transportation and delivery services.
Sequoia Capital, Tekne Capital, Ghisallo, G Squared, D1 Capital, and Naya Capital were among the investors in the investment round, which raised the company’s worth to €4 billion. The fresh cash follows a $24 million (€20) injection from the International Finance Corporation at the start of the year.
Bolt Drive, a car rental service that began earlier this year and offers a variety of options including compact, mid-size, electric, luxury, SUV, and van, is one of the services it is trying to expand. The service is now offered in Tallin, Estonia’s capital, with intentions to expand to other European and African markets in the future. Bolt Drive joins the company’s other micro-mobility offerings, such as scooters and e-bikes, in its mission to provide more affordable, environmentally friendly transportation options to the masses. The e-mobility service is available in more than 100 European cities.
“We continue to scale up our operations for the benefit of our customers. Our core business is to provide reliable, safe and affordable transportation services to everyone and we are excited to make travel easier and quicker in many cities across the continent,” said Partridge.