The dawn of electric motorcycles can be seen across the globe. Apart from mainstream manufacturers rolling out their own electric bikes, countless startups geared towards environmental sustainability and cost efficiency have come into the picture with their own renditions of what a true electric motorcycle should be. From extremely high-performance machines, to bikes catered to beginners, the future of motorcycles appears to be in good hands. For developing regions like Africa, electric motorcycles stand a chance to revolutionize day-to-day life.
As is common in developing countries, Africans, specifically Rwandans, rely heavily on motorcycle taxis to get around. Because of the rising cost of fuel and the taxes imposed on the importation of fuel in the region, some Rwandans are struggling to maintain their businesses as well as find affordable and sustainable means of transportation. Ampersand, a startup geared towards the pioneering the production of electric motorcycles in the region, seeks to provide just this. For the past couple of years, Ampersand has been retrofitting electric motors into the frames of gasoline powered motorcycles.
Apart from the benefit of lower emissions and sustainability, the use of electric motorcycle taxis also allows for an overall quiet riding experience both for the driver, and the passenger. Given the busy lifestyle of Rwanda locals, passengers of motorcycle taxis oftentimes take calls while on the road. Conversely, a quieter and smoother ride allows the driver to remain less fatigued, thus enabling him or her to provide more trips to passengers. To top it all off, Ampersand's repurposed electric motorcycles sell for significantly less than their gasoline-powered counterparts. Selling their bikes for averagely $1,300, Ampersand beats its gas-powered competitors' price point by nearly $300, as some of the cheapest gas-powered motorcycles retail for around $1,600.
Companies like Ampersand not only pave the way for the electric motorcycle industry, they ensure a sustainable future for developing countries and make finding a living significantly more attainable. With the world's population consistently growing, and the citizenry adopting a more agile work infrastructure, dynamic and flexible modes of transportation such as motorcycle taxis, as well as small, lightweight personal motorcycles stand a chance at shaping the future of transportation.