$ 9 million more in the bank for electric motorcycle start-up Ampersand


Kenya’s first electric motorcycle company, Ampersand, has secured $ 9 million in funding from the American International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) to expand its operations in Rwanda and Kenya.

The deal represents DFC’s first electric mobility loan and signifies growing investor confidence in Africa’s growing electric mobility sector. Based in Kigali, Rwanda, Ampersand assembles and finances electric motorcycles (emotos or e-bodas) that cost less to purchase and operate, and outperform the 5 million gasoline-powered motorcycle taxis in use. in East Africa – all with up to 83% less carbon dioxide emissions.

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The heart of Ampersand’s business is the network of battery exchange stations and the battery fleet that the company builds and operates. This system allows drivers to swap batteries faster than filling a gas tank and protects vehicle buyers from the high initial cost of a lithium battery. Since its commercial launch in May 2019, the Ampersand team has carried out more than 50,000 battery exchanges, supplying its fleet of 56 drivers over more than 2 million kilometers.

DFC’s $ 9 million loan will enable Ampersand to increase the number of electric motorcycles on the roads in Rwanda and Kenya to several thousand by the end of 2022. The loan is part of the Portfolio for Impact initiative and Innovation (PI²) of DFC and contributes to the DFC initiative. commitment to the US Energy Compact and its goal of fighting climate change with a third of its investments by 2023.

DFC’s installation builds on a $ 4 million Series A ampersand cycle obtained earlier in 2021, which was backed by Silicon Valley investor Ecosystem Integrity Fund (EIF) and TotalEnergies.

Ampersand received its seed funding from USAID’s Development Innovation Ventures (DIV), the Rwanda Green Fund and the UK government’s Frontier Technology Livestreaming initiative, among others.

Josh Whale, Founder and CEO of Ampersand: “We are delighted to have DFC on board this historic investment, which is scaling up to electrify all of East Africa’s 5 million motorcycle taxis. by 2030. DFC’s support underlines the viability and investment of two-wheeled electricity for consumer customers in southern countries and the importance of this market to achieve net zero. On the eve of COP26 in Glasgow, we believe that bolder, faster and more innovative funds like PI² are urgently needed. “

Jake Levine, DFC Climate Manager: “DFC is proud to support Ampersand in its important and innovative work in bringing electric mobility and electric motorcycles to Rwanda and Kenya. DFC is focused on making impactful investments in developing countries that will help communities move forward and thrive while simultaneously building resilience and prosperity for a clean energy future – this investment and the incredible growth that Ampersand has brought about. demonstrated in the market represent a big step in this direction. “

Certainly a step in the right direction for electric mobility in Africa. Conversations around the electrification of motorcycles, buses and minibus taxis were central discussions and themes at this year’s Smarter Mobility Africa.

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