Kenya is racing ahead of many African peers in phasing out fossil fuel-powered vehicles and embracing Electric Vehicles (EV).
Data from United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) confirms that air pollution is the most significant environmental threat to public health globally and accounts for an estimated 7 million premature deaths every year.
Emissions from cars and trucks are not only bad for our planet, but they’re also bad for our health. Air pollutants from gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles cause asthma, bronchitis, cancer, and premature death.
This has called for numerous stakeholders to pump ideas, money, and innovations into e-mobility to save the future from the mass rage of environmental pollution.
Ratemo Mabeya and a team of like-minded young people understand that carbon emissions come from industries that shape up our world, transportation included.
Thus the initiative, dubbed Green Global Footprint Initiative (GGFI), came as part of their solution-based approaches to the problem.
The initiative is geared towards promoting Climate Change Action and the transition to clean, green energy.
Inspired by the Three Legs of Mann, the ancient national symbol of the Isle of Man motto, Whichever way you throw me, I stand, Mabeya, founder and Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) at GGFI, says that wherever the results of their approach lands them, they still believe they can stand and have a chance to make a change.
“We believe that progress doesn’t have to cost our planet and now moving forward we need to leave the carbon behind and transit into a clean energy so as to create a brighter, carbon-free future,” Mabeya asserts.
GGFI has been aligning its duck in a row since 2022, and so far, they have made crystal impacts in the community.
Their core agenda is to overcome the existential climate change challenge much more efficiently, which Mabeya reiterates is possible if everyone looks at the environment through the lenses that GGFI uses.
His dire passion for ending climate change challenges has driven him to champion electric vehicle awareness. Through the initiative, he aims to accelerate Kenya into a net zero carbon emission vision by 2030.
He quips that as young leaders, there is absolutely nothing we can achieve acting alone, and governments cannot get this transformation done independently as well.
“We are coming on board and actively participating and responding to the wrath of devious strikes of climate change that has been experienced in most parts of Kenya,” he explains.
He firmly adds, “Communities and humanitarian organizations and initiatives are calling for drought to be declared a national disaster but we’re not doing enough to prevent this disaster.”
According to Mabeya, as Kenya’s new E-mobility policy gets better and better, the number of new Electric Vehicles will also increase.
There has been a lot of skepticism, misconception, anxiety, and EV unawareness among the public, which is an undermining factor in the quest for the uptake and embracing of Electric Vehicles.
This situation exposed the gap that Mabeya envisions bridging.
As the world moves much toward Net Zero Carbon Emissions, it’s a big jump for people to go from internal combustion engines to electric vehicles and electric mobility.
Mabeya says that at GGFI, they are looking long-term regarding climate change action, sustainability and E-mobility.
“There are lots of perceived barriers to EV adoption; things like EV awareness, charging infrastructure, charge anxiety, danger anxiety, skepticism and misconception,” he says.
Mabeya, with his team at GGFI, has taken the initiative to spread awareness of EV. They have come up with events where they share their passion with communities on electric vehicles and sustainability.
Through the events, they also give platforms for talks and presentations, which opens the window for people to peep, listen and understand how easy it is to make that change.
Through EV awareness events, GGFI has been putting the power of community engagement into practice.
They have also cracked partnerships with organizations such as Quambio, Kenya Green Build Society (KGBS) and Women in Sustainability Africa, which have the same goal in mind.
The lack of charging infrastructure for electric vehicles and motorcycles has been one of the leading impediments to the full adoption of e-mobility.
As a power producer and distributor, the Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) indeed has a role in accelerating the electric vehicle adoption process.
Mabeya says that as an integral infrastructure for the adoption of Electric vehicles, EV charging points have been far behind the development of new electric vehicles and have become one of the bottlenecks hindering the faster growth of new electric cars.
“Many electric car owners say charging is difficult; in my recent visit to the Nopearide private charging point, one of the drivers shared with me the most challenging problem the 100% Electric cub fleet is facing in the country with only four charging points in the whole of Nairobi,” he reveals.
He adds that investment in the charging station is huge and it is difficult for the charging station to generate economic benefits for enterprises; thus this development is being overlooked.
“GGFI is looking to solve that problem more sustainably without necessarily building for economic benefits but for the public good, building back better from bottom for the future to solve a problem,” Mabeya relates.
With copious plans for EV, Kenya recently revealed a special tariff for electric car charging stations that will be cheaper than the average domestic consumer.
The tariff plan divulged in KPLC’s application to the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA), the sector’s regulator, will price consumption of between 200 and 15,000 kWh at KSh17 per kWh, which is lower than the ordinary domestic tariff proposed at KSh21.68 per unit.
Mabeya, in pursuit of his ambitious project, confirms that the Electric Forecourt, which is reimagined of the traditional filling station, designed to make charging an Electric Vehicle as simple as using a petrol station, is the future of EV.
He says that it’s important to make it much easier for people to understand what an electric vehicle is and how it can be useful to individuals and our environment.
It’s also paramount to show the next generation of EV drivers and owners where they can save money, contribution to the net zero with solar farm projects, and make EVs efficient, reliable, and relatable.
Recognizing the enormity of the challenges our society faces, “GGFI is dedicated to making a lasting impact.
While our organization’s focus drives our efforts, we spread a wide net by investing in a variety of programs.
We look forward to building an Electric Forecourt to make charging an electric vehicle the most awesome, enjoyable, ultra-convenient, and stress-free experience it can be,” he explains.
This project will have an impact not only on the communities but also on Kenya at large.
Among the benefits of GGFI’s Electric Forecourt is a High Power of up to 350kW and Low Power of up to 22kW.
At the forecourt, Mabeya says they will have EV awareness days, test drives, a car showroom, a drive-thru, and cafe presentations from EV gurus.
Although producing EVs is not without environmental impacts, given the effects of mining and processing lithium, nickel, cobalt, and other necessary metals, when it comes to running them, Kenya is well-positioned to have an exceptionally green EV market.
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“At Green Global Footprint Initiative, we take pride in being problem-solvers who are not afraid to take risks. We believe that with boldness, creativity, and passion, there is nothing we can’t accomplish. But above all, our strength lies in teamwork,” Mabeya concludes.