ROAM unveils first electric mass transit bus in Nairobi
Electric vehicle manufacturer ROAM on Wednesday unveiled the first-ever electric, public mass transit bus operation in Nairobi targeting urban areas.
The electric bus can accommodate 77 passengers at a go and can travel 360 kilometres when fully charged.
It has a wheelchair area with an access ramp, air conditioning and can be charged directly from the power grid or solar system.
The 1-year pilot project aims to address the unique challenges of public transport by providing a reliable, sustainable, efficient, and modern mass transit solution.
The ROAM Rapid is set to operate on the Thika Superhighway, Mombasa Road, and Waiyaki Way as the initial routes, which are some of the busiest routes in Nairobi.
The bus is currently running its operations from Fire Station Lane in the Central Business District to Juja. Fares will be at par with what other bus operators in the industry currently charge.
It targets public transport providers, schools as well as private and Government institutions, providing them with an environmentally sustainable solution that is cheaper to maintain than fuel-run buses.
Speaking during the unveiling of the bus in Nairobi, Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) Managing Director Geoffrey Muli said that the firm is capable of supporting Kenya’s e-mobility eco-system with an installed capacity of 3077 megawatts (MW) and an off-peak load of 1100 MW.
“On its part, Kenya Power has set up an e-mobility liaison office to provide customers with a seamless experience,”
“Through this office, we work with other stakeholders such as ROAM to support the development of the e-mobility ecosystem, which includes the identification of sites for potential charging stations, facilitation of connectivity and the testing of e-vehicles for potential investors,” Muli said.
Here are some specs of the Roam Rapid:
Roam Mass Transit Specifications:
- Battery capacity: 384 kWh
- Range: 360 km
- Dimensions (LxHxW): 12500x3300x2550 mm
- Top speed: 70 km/h
- Seat capacity: 77 passengers
- Weight: 18,000 kg
- Fastest Charging time: 2 h
- DC fast charging
- Air conditioning for extra comfort
- Low-floor entry with kneeling ability for easy to access
- Wide doors with wheelchair ramp
- Extra legroom space for comfort
- Four priority seats for elder or people with disabilities
- Three large double doors
This launch is the first step in Roam’s vision to see city streets paved with hundreds of electric buses by 2023.
Initially, the target is the Nairobi Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) tender, which will see the deployment of 100 buses onto Kenyan roads. In February 2022, the Nairobi Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (NaMATA) floated tenders for an international competitive bid for the leasing of 100 clean energy propulsion BRT buses for Phase 1 operations.
The Roam Rapid bus has a 384 kWh battery, giving a range of 360 km on a single charge in the urban cycle.
This is significant, as the bus can run full-day operations without a top-up charge, depending on the operator’s schedule.
Two DC 180kW chargers have already been fitted at Roam’s warehouse to cater to full charges and top-ups. More DC chargers will be added in the very near future.