Kenyan startup Roam, previously Opibus, has launched a new electric mass transit bus, the Roam Rapid, which is specifically designed to address the unique challenges of public transport in Nairobi and Africa as a whole.
Founded in 2017, and rebranded earlier this year, Roam is the leading provider of electric vehicles designed and manufactured locally. Its vision is to create reliable and cost effective products designed for the pan-African mass market.
The company raised US$7.5 million in equity and grant funding late last year to help it scale its operations, and it has now launched the Roam Rapid, the first electric bus in Kenya designed for mass transit. With a capacity of 90 passengers, the bus allows for ample room, efficient boarding and disembarking of commuters, and both seating and standing areas.
Furthermore, it features priority seats for the elderly and people with limited mobility, extended legroom, designated areas for wheelchairs, and a low-floor entry for easy access. Roam aspires to create a new perception on public transport vehicles by providing a mobility solution that is inclusive, modern, efficient and sustainable.
Roam Rapid also has zero tailpipe emissions and low noise pollution, paving the way for the next generation public transport system in Africa. It has an extended range that enables the operators to run their buses for a full day without worrying about charging. The bus is equipped with a 384-kWh battery pack that allows for a range of 360 kilometres. It also has the ability to fully charge in less than two hours through DC charging ports.
“The solution Roam brings to the Kenyan market enables us to move people safely, comfortably and timely in both a sustainable and affordable way. The bus is designed not only to increase comfort and lower cost but more importantly focuses on the well-being of the population through reduced noise pollution and eliminating local emissions, improving air quality for the cities across Africa,” said Dennis Wakaba, project coordinator at Roam.