Opibus
Inside Opibus production plant in Nairobi. The proprietary powertrain enables existing heavy commercial vehicles such as buses and trucks to be converted to electric - thereby reducing cost, resource use and giving the vehicles a second life. The motorcycle is fully designed and tailored for the local use case, with dual swappable battery packs. [Photo/ Courtesy]

Opibus, an electric vehicle manufacturer, has announced that it has raised USD7.5 million (Ksh833 million) in funding led by Silicon Valley fund At One Ventures, further supported by Factor[e] Ventures and Ambo Ventures managed by former Google and Uber executives. The investment is the largest ever in an electric mobility company in Sub-Saharan Africa and is aimed to scale its operations in electric motorcycle and bus manufacturing.

Currently, Opibus has existing customers across six countries in Africa. With several vehicles in different categories deployed, Opibus has reduced customer CO2 emissions by 94 percent and operational expenditures by more than 60 percent.

“We are proud to be backed by globally recognized investors providing a balance between deep-tech and emerging market expertise. We have together reached a clear strategic and visionary alignment – with the conviction that mass manufacturing of electric mobility solutions in Africa will not only make the products more accessible and affordable but also lead to one of the largest industrialization and welfare transitions of the region in modern time,” said Filip Gardler, CEO and co-founder of Opibus.

The proprietary powertrain enables existing heavy commercial vehicles such as buses and trucks to be converted to electric – thereby reducing cost, resource use and giving the vehicles a second life. The motorcycle is fully designed and tailored for the local use case, with dual swappable battery packs.

The closed fundraising consists of USD5 million in equity and USD2.5 million in additional grants. The investments will be used to prepare for scale-up and mass manufacturing starting 2022. Africa is one of the fastest-growing transportation markets globally, with a total market potential of $10 billion by 2030, and is largely untapped.

“Opibus is taking a fundamentals-first approach to delivering a compelling customer value proposition that is tailored for the African market. Their vehicles are half the cost compared to second-hand fossil fuel vehicles and perform better in harsh road conditions. We are excited to be supporting them in their growth phase to achieve true impact at scale,” said Helen Lin, Principal At One Ventures.

Opibus was founded in 2017 and has over the years developed products in three main segments, electric motorcycles, electric public transport/commercial vehicles as well as charging and energy solutions.

Today, it is the largest manufacturer of electric vehicles in East Africa and was recently featured in National Geographic amongst VW, Tesla and Rivian. The company is also recognized for having produced the first truly African electric motorcycle.

“The electric mobility space in Africa represents a huge opportunity; not only to provide a better service at a lower cost to customers but also to reduce carbon emissions and avoid d****y exposure to particulate pollution on a local level,” Morgan DeFoort, Managing Partner Factor[e] Ventures.

Open Capital Advisors was the exclusive financial advisor and Qap Legal Advisors was the legal advisor to Opibus on this transaction.

Read: Kenya’s First Electric Buses Firm Launches Operations

>>> Hyundai KONA Electric Vehicle Launched Commercially in Kenya

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