Mechanics, fuel stations and jobs that may disappear in the next decade

 Mechanics, fuel stations and jobs that may disappear in the next decade

Kenya’s ubiquitous auto services industry comprising of mechanics specializing in repairing combustion engines in vehicles, vehicle assemblies, and petrol stations will need to change their business model or risk extinction in about 12 years after European Union voted to phase out combustion engines by 2035. The EU is one of the biggest source markets for cars in Kenya.

Mechanics specializing in repairing combustion engines in vehicles, vehicle assemblies, and petrol stations will need to change their business model or risk extinction after the European Union voted to end the production of petrol and diesel cars over the next 12 years. 

From 2035, all car manufacturers operating in the European market will be legally prohibited from producing and selling cars that emit carbon dioxide as the EU bloc moves to effect drastic measures to cut greenhouse gases in the vehicles industry by 100 percent.

Implications for the rest of the world especially Africa, which relies on global supply chains for vehicle imports are huge, and will hit hundreds of industries that largely rely on fossil fuel value chains to do business.

Kenya Auto Bazaar Association Secretary-General Charles Munyori says it will take sometimes before the shift happens in Kenya but the change will be faster than previous technological shift when cars moved from manual to automatic systems.

Mr Munyori said Kenyans are adopting electric vehicles at a much faster rate because they are more cost effective and fuel has become to expensive.

“Automatic vehicles were produced in the 80s but it took Kenyans up to the 2000s to embrace them because acceptance was a problem. But for electric vehicles, for some reason, people are accepting them at a faster rate because it saves on fuel and they are considering the economic side of it,” he explained.

The Auto Bazaar Association Secretary-General said that while it will take some time for the switch to happen, halt in production of cars and spare parts shortages will likely push for an even faster adoption.

Read also: Coming soon: Electric vehicle charging points on highways, towns near you

Kenya has become one of the early adopters of electric mobility having more than 1000 low-carbon emission vehicles on the road and the dealers expecting an increase due to the high cost of fuel.

Car and General (C&G) plans to start selling electric vehicles and tuk-tuks (three-wheeled motorcycles) as part of a plan to diversify into the ‘green’ mobility business that has been dominated by start-ups such as BasiGo and Swedish-Kenyan technology company, Roam.

Roam and ARC Ride Kenya are also going for motorcycles, three-wheeled electric scooters and bikes targeting boda boda riders with asset finance deals while BasiGo has gone for the matatu sector in with the latest deal being struck with Super Metro Sacco has unveiled electric bus to serve passengers in its Nairobi city centre to Kikuyu and Kitengela routes.

“What we are not seeing are the assembly plants going the green way, the only ones really moving are those making electric motorcycles. Maybe Honda, which has been at the forefront of the motorcycle, will push this but if the industry gets government support it will move very fast,” Mr Munyori said.

Along the value chain, lenders have launched electric vehicle financing such as NCBA Group’s Kes2 billion kitty. KCB Group and Family Bank have also partnered with BasiGO to offer roughly 80 percent financing to electric bus buyers.

Kenya Power through the Institute of Energy Studies and Research (IESR), with support from the EU is also modelling a charging infrastructure on the national grid to anticipate demand in cities, towns and vital highways across the country. 

The project also aims to deploy 15 e-motorcycle charging and swapping points at existing petrol stations in Nairobi with the possibility of extending it in Kisumu. 

Kenya Power is already moving its shift to electrical having set aside Kes40 million this year to purchase three electric vehicles and to construct three electric vehicle-charging stations within Nairobi. The company plans to phase out its entire fleet of 2,000 fossil fuel-powered vehicles within the next four years through retrofitting electric engines on existing vehicles as well as the purchase of new electric vehicles.

otiato@maudhui.co.ke

Otiato Guguyu
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