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BODAWERK and Watu Team Up for Electric Boda Boda Transformation in Uganda

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bodawerk and watu team up for electric boda boda transformation in uganda
bodawerk and watu team up for electric boda boda transformation in uganda
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In a significant development that could reshape transportation in Uganda, BODAWERK, a local electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer, has revealed a strategic partnership with Watu, a prominent financial services provider. The partnership’s goal is to support an ambitious expansion project and electrify Uganda’s beloved Boda bodas while also announcing a rebranding effort to become GOGO.

The announcement was made during a customer service appreciation event on October 4th, coinciding with Uganda Independence Day, at a luncheon attended by over 400 boda boda riders in Kampala.

GOGO’s partnership with Watu marks a significant milestone in the company’s journey. Watu, known for its financial solutions for entrepreneurs, will play a crucial role in funding GOGO’s expansion and electrification projects.

Central to this collaboration is the electrification of Uganda’s iconic Boda bodas, the popular motorcycles used in both urban and rural transportation. GOGO intends to replace traditional petrol-powered Boda bodas with clean and efficient electric models, reducing emissions and fuel costs.

During the event, Francis Chandia, EV Manager at Watu, emphasized the importance of electric transportation for affordability and improved health. He noted, “Aligned with Uganda’s ambition to increase the number of EV vehicles by 2026, our partnership with GOGO is timely, as we will help GOGO accelerate the production of EV bikes for the market and increase the number of battery swapping stations. In addition, we will provide financing to many boda operators to make the switch.”

Through accessible and affordable financing for electric vehicles, this partnership aims to expedite their adoption and contribute significantly to Uganda’s sustainability goals.

According to the Kampala City Authority, there are approximately 150,000 motorcycles in Kampala, with less than 1% of them being electric. Uganda has over one million motorcycles on its roads, with about 750,000 operating in Kampala, Mukono, and Wakiso districts. This presents a substantial market for hundreds of new electric Boda bodas in Kampala over the next two years.

Kabuye Kyofatogabye, the State Minister of KCCA and Metropolitan Affairs, expressed government support for this partnership, acknowledging the financial challenges of widespread replacement and swapping. He stated, “We have almost 3 million motorcycles in the country. If you look at the cost of 5 million, the government doesn’t have the 15 trillion to replace all of these. If we have such investors to come in, it makes everything swifter. All they need from us is guidance, basically.”

Boda boda riders account for more than 80% of the Ugandan motorcycle market.

GOGO aims to have 1,000 riders on the road and perform 2,000 battery swaps per day by the end of 2023, with a target of 20,000 riders consuming 3GWh of electricity per month by the end of 2024. Additionally, the company plans to inaugurate East Africa’s largest lithium-ion battery pack factory in 2024.

The transition to electric Boda bodas is expected to reduce harmful emissions significantly, in addition to providing lower operating costs for riders and operators due to the vehicles’ energy efficiency and reduced maintenance expenses. Watu’s involvement extends beyond funding, as they are also offering tailored financial services to Boda boda operators.