NopeaRide, Kenya’s first EV taxi service, shuts down

NopeaRide, Kenya’s first EV taxi service, shuts down

Kenya’s only fully electric taxi service, NopeaRide is leaving the market after EkoRent Oy, its parent company, failed to raise enough funding to keep it afloat.

NopeaRide said EkoRent Africa, the local subsidiary of the Finnish company, has filed for insolvency in Kenya, bringing to an end the operations of the all-electric vehicle taxi player, which sought to drive a shift to environmentally friendly transport options, while stepping-up competition for early market entrants Uber and Bolt.

” We have taken our fleet electric vehicles off the roads and have notified our employees and corporate clients. NopeaRide released a statement saying that they are working with the relevant authorities to ensure that operations are conducted in compliance with local laws.

” We would like to express our deepest sorrow to our dedicated 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,” it 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 provided a charging network, rider and driver apps, and sourced electric vehicles. The drivers were expected to finance their own financing.

The startup grew from three vehicles to 70 by the time of closure, and had built a charging network across Nairobi after raising undisclosed funding in 2019.

Last year, NopeaRide also received EUR200,000 funding, a fraction of what it was raising, from EEP Africa, a financing facility for early-stage clean energy in Southern and East Africa, to build more solar charging hubs in Nairobi, and increase its service radius in anticipation of growth.

The startup claimed it is on a path of recovery after being badly affected by the COVID pandemic. This caused a drop in the number rides for people working from home, and a dip in its revenue.

“In the first half of 2022 our traffic numbers grew to about the same level as before Covid-19. As their employees returned to work, we also began to invest more in the corporate segment and signed contracts with several large international companies. Some of these companies could potentially reserve the majority of Nopea capacity.” it stated.

“EkoRent OY fell into insolvency in Finland, and was unable obtain additional financing to help the business grow in Nairobi to the next level .”

Read More