Operating in the Fedha area of Nairobi’s Embakasi, Amos starts his days at 7am with his Roam Air electric motorcycle working as motorcycle taxi rider or more popularly known as boda boda rider. A father and a family man, he talks to us about how owning an electric motorcycle has changed his life.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Amos Muli Kyalo. I am 28 years old, a family man and the work I do involves operating in the boda boda sector as a boda boda rider.
2. What is your favourite feature of the motorcycle?
My favourite feature is that it is an electric cargo transporter. The simple fact that I do not have to rely on fuel to run my business (especially with the current price of KES 215 a litre) brings me a lot of joy. To charge one battery I use electricity tokens of KES 100 and to operate on a dual battery system I spend KES 200 which covers a distance of roughly 200km.
With a 150 cc fossil-powered motorcycle 2 and a half liters (which will cost you kes 450) will allow you to ride a 100 km. With the Roam Air, 100 kenya shillings covers roughly the same distance of 100 kms.
Another reason why I love the Roam Air is how powerful the Roam Air is. Since I operate on a daily either ferrying passengers or carrying heavy goods to different locations,I needed a motorcycle that is durable and robust. There is talk on the streets that an electric motorcycle is not as hardy but I have had the motorcycle for 6 months now and it has stood up to the test.
3. How do you charge your electric motorcycle?
Another reason why the Roam Air really works for me and other riders operating in the boda boda sector is because it comes with a removable battery that can be charged out of any household socket. Basically anywhere where you could charge your phone.
The motorcycle comes with a battery compartment built onto the bike which hosts two batteries. At the end of your operations on whichever day, all you have to do is remove the battery from the compartment, get a hold of your portable charger (which you get upon purchasing the Roam Air) and plug that into the wall socket. With the fast charger, the battery takes 3 hours and 45 minutes to recharge.
4. We are curious about what small joys you derive from your day-to-day work. For example, how have you personalized your Roam Air?
I love to listen to the radio so that was the first thing I customized on my electric motorcycle. I also really enjoy sports, football especially so I have Manchester United stickers all over my Roam Air just to give it a little more personality.
5. How has owning an electric motorcycle changed your life?
The biggest impact owning a Roam Air has had on my business is the operational savings. At the end of the month, a lot more money is left over in order for me to significantly improve my quality of life. Now, where I was struggling before due to the ever-increasing price of fuel, I am able to pay rent and provide for my family. From school fees to three meals a day to keeping up with my savings account, my young family is well taken care of.
6. What operational costs are you saving on exactly?
Loan payment and fuel costs are the biggest ones for sure. Previously I would pay 450 KES a day and spend 500 KES on fuel. Now I pay KES 550 a day for the loan and spend 100 KES on charging the battery, allowing me to save 300 Kenya Shillings every day on top of my day to day profits.
7. How were you able to get your electric motorcycle?
I got my electric motorcycle through Mkopa though their asset financing program. On a daily basis I pay kes 550 to them. I will do this for the next two years after which I will fully own my electric motorcycle.
8. What would you tell other boda boda riders about your experience using the Roam Air?
I would like to say that the future is in switching to electric motorcycles. Things that we take for granted like the absence of noise pollution, the absence of oil filters, spark plugs and valves is exactly what makes this electric motorcycle unique. The fact that all you have to change is the tyres and chain is simply amazing and gets you a much lower maintenance motorcycle. The fact that it has a portable charger, swappable batteries and is easy to ride easily makes the case for the Roam Air.