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Buying an Electric Motorcycle in Kenya: Pros and Cons
Money Management

Buying an Electric Motorcycle in Kenya: Pros and Cons

PHOTO| Business Today
PHOTO| Business Today

As the electric mobility revolution sweeps across Africa, the motorcycle industry in Kenya stands poised to lead this transition since it is the most represented in the transport sector. We are now at the point where if you've been contemplating purchasing or upgrading your two-wheeler for personal or business use, you might have to consider electric motorcycles. 

The demand and uptake of electric motorcycles are driven by the global shift towards protecting the planet and reducing emissions and the economic incentives to cut the cost of repairing and regular service that petrol-powered motorcycles require, together with the promise of cheap electric energy. 

Over the past few years, all-electric motorcycles have gained a foothold in the marketplace. Today, several start-ups have set up shops in Kenya to manufacture and assemble electric two-wheelers. Last year, to increase their uptake and competition, the government promised to cut five taxes, including VAT, to reduce the cost of production of electric motorbikes in the country. Accordingly, the government plans to produce 200K electric Bodabodas in Kenya by the end of 2024. 

However, despite the collective desire for environmental sustainability and cost-saving benefits, many riders remain hesitant about embracing electric motorcycles. To them, the technological advancements in electric motorcycles have yet to meet their demands fully. 

So, should your next bike be all-electric? To help you decide if you should buy an electric motorcycle in Kenya, this article will discuss the Pros and Cons and five things you need to consider before making your decision.

Pros of Buying an Electric Motorcycle in Kenya 

Electric motorbikes may be the future. They are continually improving and becoming more appealing to many riders. Here are some of the advantages that come with owning one:

1. Low maintenance Compared To ICE Motorcycles

Electric motorcycles have fewer moving parts than internal combustion engines (ICE). They don't require frequent oil changes, air filter replacements, or tune-ups. Additionally, there are no spark plugs, clutch, or gearboxes that need constant maintenance. 

This results in significantly lower maintenance costs and less frequent visits to the mechanic. Due to the simplified design and lower wear and tear on components, electric motorcycles can have longer service intervals between maintenance tasks, reducing the overall ownership cost.

2. Zero Emissions And Reduced Carbon Footprint

Unlike conventional petrol-powered motorcycles, electric motorcycles produce no exhaust emissions during operation. This reduces air pollution and helps combat climate change by decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. 

By opting for an electric motorcycle, environmentally conscious riders can actively contribute to reducing their carbon footprint and promoting cleaner air in urban environments.

3. Reduced Noise Pollution

Since they have no ICE engine and exhaust pipes, electric motorcycles produce much less noise than petrol-powered bikes. The absence of a loud engine roar can enhance the riding experience and facilitate easier communication between riders and pillions or other road users. This can improve situational awareness and reduce the likelihood of accidents. 

The quieter operation also means less disturbance to pedestrians and your neighbours. Electric bikes are also more socially acceptable in noise-sensitive environments like hospitals. 

4. The Range Of Electric Models Is Increasing 

The technology powering electric motorcycles is continually evolving and improving battery capacity and range. Manufacturers are developing models with increasingly longer ranges to meet the diverse needs of riders, whether for daily commuting, working as a bodaboda, or longer leisure trips. 

5. Charging Costs Can Be Lower Than Petro-Powered Bikes

The cost of charging an electric motorcycle can be lower than refueling a petrol-powered bike. Electricity can be cheaper than gasoline on a per-kilometre basis, resulting in lower operational costs for electric motorcycles. According to Roam, an electric bike manufacturer in Kenya, riding a Fossil Fuel costs 0.05 USD per 10 KM while electric ones cost 0.035 USD per 10 KM.

With the expansion of public charging infrastructure, it's becoming increasingly convenient and cost-effective to recharge electric motorcycles on the go. Additionally, riders can charge at home overnight.

6. Energy Efficiency

While internal combustion engines waste a significant portion of energy through heat dissipation and mechanical losses, electric motors can convert a higher percentage of energy from the battery into usable power for propulsion. This efficiency translates into better mileage per unit of energy consumed, allowing electric motorcycles to travel farther on a single charge. 

As a result, riders can enjoy longer rides and reduce their overall energy consumption while using an electric motorcycle.

Cons of Buying an Electric Motorcycle in Kenya

As mentioned above, electric motorcycles are far from reaching their full potential and have yet to gain widespread acceptance, as some riders are inclined to embrace them. Here are some of the downsides making them hesitant:

1. Higher Upfront Costs And Lack Of Financing Options

While the long-term savings on fuel and maintenance costs may offset this initial investment, the upfront cost of e-bikes might deter many consumers. The initial purchase price of electric motorcycles is often higher than that of their internal combustion engine counterparts by tens of thousands. 

While you can find a new petro-powered two-wheeler for Ksh100,000 or less, you will have trouble finding an electric bike in that price range. 

Other things that might hinder affordability for potential buyers are the lack of well-established financing infrastructure and a second-hand market for electric motorcycles. 

2. Electric Motorcycles Are Heavy 

Electric motorcycles tend to be heavier than their ICE counterparts due to the additional weight of battery packs. This extra weight can affect handling and manoeuvrability, particularly at lower speeds or when navigating tight spaces. 

Inexperienced riders may find it more challenging to control heavier bikes, especially in urban environments or during off-road riding. The added weight can also impact acceleration, braking distances, and overall performance, potentially affecting the riding experience for some users.

3. Longer Charging Times And Limited Infrastructure

Charging an electric motorcycle typically takes longer than refuelling a traditional petrol-powered bike. Depending on the model and charger, charging times can range from half an hour to several hours. 

Additionally, the availability of charging infrastructure may be limited, particularly outside Nairobi, leading to potential delays or inconvenience. Planning long-distance journeys requires careful consideration of charging station locations and may necessitate longer stops to recharge, disrupting travel plans.

4. Limited Battery Life And Replacement Costs

While electric motorcycle batteries are generally maintenance-free, they have a finite lifespan of approximately 3-5 years. Frequent charging and usage can accelerate battery degradation, requiring replacement sooner. Overcharging or improper maintenance practices can further reduce battery life and lead to costly replacements. 

The expense and inconvenience of replacing batteries periodically add to the overall ownership costs of electric motorcycles.

5. Reduced Range Compared To Petrol Bikes

Despite advancements in battery technology, electric motorcycles still have shorter ranges compared to petrol-fueled counterparts. While adequate for short commutes and urban riding, the limited range may pose challenges for longer trips or touring. 

Riders must carefully plan routes to ensure access to charging stations and may need to adjust their travel habits to accommodate range limitations.

6. Limited DIY Maintenance Opportunities

Enthusiasts who enjoy performing DIY maintenance on their motorcycles may find fewer opportunities with electric bikes. Without components like motor oil, filters, clutches, or spark plugs, traditional maintenance tasks are eliminated. 

While electric motorcycles still require maintenance for components like final drive chains or belts, brakes, suspension, and changing tyres, the overall experience may lack the same level of fulfillment for those accustomed to working on ICE bikes.

Should You Buy an Electric Motorcycle? 5 Things to Consider

With the rise of eco-conscious transportation and advancements in electric vehicle technology, owning an electric motorcycle is becoming increasingly appealing to many riders. However, before you leap, there are several important factors to consider.

Intended Use: Evaluate what you plan to use the bike for. An electric motorcycle could be a great option for daily commuting or running errands within the city due to its efficiency and lower operating costs. However, if you need it for long-distance touring or heavy-duty work like being a bodaboda or delivery person, ensure that the electric motorcycle you choose has the necessary range and capabilities to meet your needs.

Resale Value: Consider the potential resale value of the electric motorcycle compared to traditional bikes. Research the market demand for used electric motorcycles and assess how quickly you can find a buyer if you decide to sell. Additionally, factor in the cost of maintaining the bike to ensure you won't struggle to find a buyer due to high maintenance costs.

Accessories, Spare Parts, and Dealer Support: Check the availability of accessories and spare parts for the electric motorcycle you're interested in. Accessories such as luggage racks and windshields can enhance your riding experience, so it's essential to ensure they are readily available. Additionally, consider the availability of charging accessories and how quickly you can find replacement components if needed. 

Also, make sure there are dealers or service centers nearby that can provide support and maintenance for the motorcycle to avoid inconvenience in case of repairs or servicing needs.

Long-Term Ownership Costs: Compare all the costs associated with long-term ownership, including the purchase price, insurance costs, maintenance costs, and refueling/charging expenses. Consider factors such as battery replacement costs and compare them to servicing for internal combustion engine components. This can help you determine whether an electric motorcycle is a financially viable option for you in the long run.

Location: Your location plays a crucial role in the feasibility of owning an electric motorcycle. Consider the availability of charging stations in your area, mainly if you rely on public charging infrastructure. Currently, Nairobi has a more developed charging network, so if you live elsewhere, assess the availability of charging infrastructure in your town. Additionally, ensure that there are mechanics proficient in repairing electric bikes nearby to address any maintenance or repair needs effectively.


As the world transitions towards sustainable transportation solutions, electric motorcycles have emerged as a promising alternative to traditional petrol-powered bikes. However, navigating the landscape of electric motorcycles requires careful consideration and a lot of research. Whether to go electric is a personal choice, but at the end of the day, the bike you buy should be adapted to your daily needs. Before taking this route, ensure you are well-educated on the subject. 

To ensure peace of mind and a positive ownership experience when buying an e-motorbike, choose a reseller that offers reassuring guarantees and good after-sales service. Inquire about their service and maintenance plans, including routine maintenance, inspections, and repairs. A reseller that provides affordable and convenient service options can save you time and money in the long run, ensuring that your electric motorcycle remains in optimal condition.

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Farah Nurow is an experienced Content Writer who enjoys writing creative and educative articles meant to provoke readers' thoughts. He loves sunny weather and thick books. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.

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