Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Ampersand Partners with BYD to Electrify Motorcycle Fleet in Africa

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Ampersand, a Rwanda-based startup founded in 2016, has announced a partnership with BYD to supply battery cells for its electric motorcycles. The company, known for its large fleet of electric commercial motorcycles with swappable batteries, aims to accelerate the electrification of Africa’s commercial motorcycle segment.

The Memorandum of Understanding signed on 18 June between Ampersand and BYD outlines plans to acquire battery cells for 40,000 electric motorcycles by the end of 2026. While specific details regarding the battery cells have not been disclosed, it is widely speculated that Ampersand will source prismatic LFP (lithium iron phosphate) battery cells from BYD, given the Chinese supplier’s expertise in this area.

Ampersand CEO Josh Whale expressed enthusiasm about the partnership, stating, “Our deep customer insight and technical product know-how, combined with BYD’s battery cells and manufacturing capacity, will accelerate the electrification of the commercial motorcycle segment in Africa.” He added that the switch to electric vehicles (EVs) will save millions of hardworking motorcycle riders $600 each per year.

Sihai Zhang from BYD emphasized the importance of electrifying the large, used commercial motorcycle segment, describing these vehicles as intensively used and stating that replacing them with EVs is a logical first step in the decarbonization process.

Ampersand currently operates the largest electric fleet and charging infrastructure in Rwanda and Kenya. The company’s long-term goal is to electrify a significant portion of Africa’s 30 million commercial motorbikes. Since introducing electric motorcycles to Africa in May 2019, Ampersand’s vehicles have traveled a combined 180 million kilometers, resulting in the saving of 8,000 tons of CO2 emissions.

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