Kenya’s first all-electric taxi service, NopeaRide, is exiting the market after parent company EkoRent OY failed to raise additional funds to keep it running.
NopeaRide said that EkoRent Africa, the local subsidiary of the Finnish company, has filed for insolvency in Kenya, ending the player’s all-electric vehicle business, which sought to drive a shift towards eco-friendly transportation options while stepped-up competition for early market entrants Uber and Bolt.
“We have taken our fleet of electric vehicles off the road and informed our employees and corporate customers. We are now working with relevant authorities to ensure that our operations are completed in accordance with local law,” NopeaRide said in a statement.
“We would like to express our deepest regret to our dedicated team of employees and drivers. We would also like to thank our loyal NopeaRide customers, corporate customers and other partners who have supported NopeaRide’s vision for electric mobility in Africa. said.
Juha Suojanen founded EkoRent Oy in 2014 to develop solutions based on electric vehicles and solar energy, which later led to the 2018 launch of NopeaRide in Kenya.
NopeaRide supplied the charging network and the driver and rider apps and took care of the electric vehicles. However, the drivers were expected to arrange their own financing frameworks.
The startup grew from three vehicles to 70 at the time of closing, and had also built a charging network across Nairobi.
Last year NopeaRide received a €200,000 grant from EEP Africa, an early-stage clean energy financing facility in South and East Africa, to build more solar charging hubs in Nairobi, as well as enable the company to increase its service radius in anticipation of growth.
The startup said it was on track for recovery this year after the company was hit hard by the Covid pandemic, which led to a drop in rides as people worked from home.
“In the first half of 2022, our traffic numbers grew to about the same level as before Covid-19. We also started putting more effort in the corporate segment as their employees returned to work and we managed to sign contracts with a few large international companies, some of which may be reserving most of the available Nopea capacity,” it said. company.
“However, EkoRent OY went bankrupt in Finland and was unable to obtain additional funding to take the business to the next level in Nairobi.”