Kenya’s First EV Taxi Service NopeaRide Shuts Down

NopeaRide, Kenya’s first fully electric taxi service is leaving the market after its parent company EkoRent OY failed to secure additional funding to keep the business afloat. The company’s operations have come to an end following EkoRent, the local subsidiary of the Finnish company, filing for insolvency in Kenya.

NopeaRide’s parent EkoRent OY was founded in 2014 by Juha Suojanen to develop solutions based on electric vehicles and solar energy. NopeaRide launched in Kenya in 2018. NopeaRide aimed to pioneer the shift to more environmentally-friendly transport options. The company faced rivals like Uber and Bolt while it still operated. The company provided the charging network and offered apps to be used by drivers and passengers, and sourced the electric company. Drivers, however, had to arrange their financing frameworks.

In a statement, NopeaRide said that “We have taken our fleet of electric vehicles off the road and have notified our staff and corporate clients. We are now working with relevant authorities to ensure that our operations are wound up in accordance with local legislation. We would like to extend our deepest regret to our dedicated team of staff and drivers. We would also like to thank our loyal NopeaRide customers, corporate clients, and other partners who have supported NopeaRide’s vision for electric mobility in Africa.”

As of the time of its closure, NopeaRide grew the number of its vehicles from three to seventy and has a charging network across Kenya’s capital. It raised undisclosed funding in 2019, and €200,000 in 2021 with the aim of building more solar charging hubs and increasing its reach. Its business took a hit from the Covid-19 pandemic as everyone was in lockdown. “In the first half of 2022 our traffic numbers grew to about the same level as before Covid-19. We also started to put more effort in the corporate segment as their employees were returning to office and managed to sign contracts with a few big international companies, some of them potentially reserving the majority of available Nopea capacity. However, EkoRent OY went into insolvency in Finland and was unable to secure additional financing to grow the business in Nairobi to the next level,” the company said. 

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