In the long run, electric vehicles are cheaper than fossil fuel cars – Agilitee’s Muteti

Agilitee Africa, a subsidiary of Agilitee Limited, a public company that is a leader in Electric Vehicles Manufacturing, Greentech and Artificial Intelligence has signed a partnership deal with Kenya’s Redmark Consultants for Agilitee East Africa, to roll out Electric Vehicles and other green solutions to the region.

Fred Muteti, Chairman and CEO of Redmark Consultants, and Managing Director Agilitee East Africa was interviewed on KTN about the operations of Agilitee East Africa and below are excerpts of the conversation;

Qn. What is the uptake of electric cars in Kenya.

According to Kenya power there about 1,000 electric vehicles; most of the Uber and taxi hailing services have taken on electric cars. That’s green and that’s the direction for everyone.  

Qn. For electric cars to be effective, there is the issue of charging ports. What is the way forward on this?  

Speaking for Agilitee East Africa; Agilitee will be the first to develop off grid systems for Africa that charges through solar and has a high retaining capacity of power when there is no solar.  We are looking at not only car solutions but home solutions as well. We are developing home packs that will be able to charge from zero to full charge in 12 to 15 minutes.

Qn. How long will take us all to change from the fuel cars to electric cars?

It will take government policies; about 2-3 countries in Africa have banned a number used cars. The bigger problem we are facing in Africa and Kenya in particular is that its only about 16% of cars are new. We know that Kenya is on the frontline; we know that Uganda, and Rwanda have policies and Ethiopia is also on the frontline; it’s policies to restrict burning of fossil fuels that will enable us change (to electric cars).

Qn. The cost of electric cars seems to be quite high compared to cars that use fuel?

That is one angle but if you look at the environmental impact; the impact of the fuel cars is much higher than the electric cars. The wear and tear of an electric car is much less than that of the fuel cars. In the long run the electric car is much cheaper.

Qn. We are made to understand that maintenance costs of electric cars are much higher, with specialist mechanics?

The brakes which use a regenerative system; the braking system produces power back to the car and we are looking at the brakes as the only thing that you might need to replace. The rest are motors which take long to replace. The batteries have an average life span of 10 years. How many oil changes and engine overhauls would you need to make for the ordinary car in 10 years? it’s not in comparison.

Qn. How long will a full charge last?

For Agilitee Africa cars and motorbikes; we are looking at 10- 15 minutes for a full charge. For two-wheel transportation, we are looking at packs that give 75 kilometers on a single charge. This means we will have stations where they can replace batteries once they need replacement. A single charge for our cars will be looking to do almost 400 kilometers on a single charge. We will put more charging stations on public buildings and malls to enable more accessibility of the same.

Qn. There are many people supporting electric vehicles as they are environmentally friendly in the fight in the impacts of climate change. What can the government do to fast track this exercise of the country fully adopting electric vehicle?

One of the biggest things is to complete policy that is being worked on. The other is leasing more electric cars than where it has been with diesel and petrol powered cars. We know that Kenya power is on the front line of doing the same and has a budget allocation next year to purchase more cars that are electrical.  We need more government incentives for those who are doing so.

The country has many hybrid cars; but we are looking at tax incentives which will allow investors but also for off takers. When there are more carbon emissions are high, even diseases are high and expenditure at hospitals goes up.  There is also the issue of waste, when you look at our garages, not much green can grow there.

We also need incentives for new electric vehicles that are coming into the market. We need tax incentives for those willing to invest in the sector.

Qn. In your closing remarks, what would you urge Kenyans to do regarding Electric Vehicles?

I urge Kenyans to look at the issue of electric vehicles very differently. When you look at the global demand, this is trend, looking at global players like Tesla, this is the way to go. It will save our environment, reduce our carbon foot print, and reduce noise pollution. It will also reduce the amount of car waste, when it comes to used parts and redoing used vehicles. The world right now, the world is at the COP27, there is an issue of carbon credits, those investing into that (electric vehicles) are helping with carbon credits. This goes into how much the government is spending into planting more trees and doing more green related issues. We will work with various players and see to it that we have a greener Kenya and East Africa.  

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