BYD is one of the biggest electric car manufacturers in the world, with lots of Asian and European markets embracing the Chinese manufacturer’s innovations. And just like most e-mobility companies, BYD is eager to branch out into all forms of mobility, including electric motorcycles.

Instead of building a from-the-ground-up EV two-wheeler like its contemporaries, BYD is teaming up with a startup to make mobility more accessible to the masses. Ampersand, an electric motorcycle startup that operates in Rwanda and Kenya, has been providing affordable and sustainable mobility, particularly in areas where gasoline and diesel fuel is expensive and scarce.

You see, the mobility landscape in Africa is similar to that of many Asian countries. A lot of people rely on two-wheelers to get around, and there are even motorcycle taxis that shuttle folks around the city on two wheels. These motorcycle taxis are known as “boda bodas” in East Africa, and are a popular means of mobility, as well as a lucrative source of livelihood, for a large chunk of the population.

Chinese EV Maker BYD Is Supplying Batteries To This EV Moto Startup In Africa

In recent years, however, the rising cost of fuel and the heavy maintenance costs of internal combustion motorcycles have made earning a living in the motorcycle taxi market quite challenging. Especially now, given the growing awareness towards environmental sustainability.

And so, making the shift to electric makes sense as these bikes are quieter, cheaper to maintain, and improve air quality. This is exactly what Ampersand is about, and also, precisely where BYD enters the picture.

At present, Ampersand has the largest electric motorcycle fleet in East Africa, with thousands of people relying on its services to get around on a daily basis. And the startup shows no signs of slowing down. Before 2024 draws to a close, it aims to surpass the 10,000 unit mark when it comes to electric motorcycles produced.

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To achieve this goal, BYD is stepping in and selling its battery cells to Ampersand. With this, Ampersand is expected to produce a whopping 40,000 electric motorcycles by the end of 2026.

It’s important to note that although BYD is seen in the limelight of the electric car market, it also has quite a lot of involvement in other brands beneath the surface. For instance, BYD is a major battery supplier for brands such as Ford and GM. And for tech geeks who’ve been into EVs long before they were cool, BYD’s a name that’s long been associated with innovations in battery technology.

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