Nairobi, Kenya: The electric vehicle company Opibus has spent several years developing their electric vehicle systems for different businesses and now is introducing its first African made electric mining vehicle. The vehicle is tailor made for the mining industry in regards to power and reliability. Also, the focus has been on designing, building and developing the system in Kenya for the African market and the world. The vehicle system is a modular electric powertrain which means mining operators can convert their current fleet of vehicles to electric without having to invest in new vehicles. This reduces cost as well as resource usage even though new vehicles can also be made completely electric.
The first step in the conversion process is to service the vehicle to ensure that the body and chassis is in prime condition if it’s a used vehicle. Secondly the fuel tank and engine get removed to leave space for the new electric powertrain. These components can be sold or kept depending on preference. When the vehicle arrives at a certified partner, they install the proprietary electric conversion kit. The motor is bolted on to the vehicle with an adapter (retaining 4x4 capabilities), while the front battery box and centre battery box are bolted into the old component placements meaning the most of the vehicle is being used without invasive operations. The gives the new vehicle enhanced vehicle dynamics as the batteries move the centre of gravity lower. Opibus also provides charging and energy solutions as the vehicle can be charged completely of solar to lower operational cost even further and minimise diesel transport.
This vehicle enables mining to become more sustainable, there is also no need for expensive ventilation underground as there are no emissions. Also, with electric vehicles makes the working environment safer as the risk of flammable fuels is completely gone and communication is easier with the silence of the vehicles. Charging of the vehicle can be done on the grid or completely off-grid with solar panels or other systems.
Lucy Mugala - Research and Development engineer Opibus - “This vehicle is a game changer for the mining industry. It makes it possible to operate a mine completely without need for fuel infrastructure. Even more so if solar panels and battery backup systems are combined with the electric vehicles. It makes it possible to lower operations costs by almost 60%.”
Opibus is a Kenyan electric vehicle designer and manufacturer, focusing on creating products tailored for the region with quality, price and local production in mind. The vision for the company is to electrify Africa’s transport sector and accelerate the transition to renewable energy. The company is founded on three pillars, electric conversion systems for utility and public transport, electric motorcycles as well as energy and charging solutions. The company not only builds products that are more sustainable for the environment but are also building an end-to-end sustainable ecosystem. At the same time as creating local jobs and building products that make sense for the local use case, designed for Africa, in Kenya.
Short facts about the vehicle:
• Power 120 kW
• Torque 600 Nm
• Top speed >80 km/h can be manual speed-limited
• Battery size 38 / 58 kWh (two different options)
• Range 90 / 140 km (depending on battery size)
• High quality water- and dust proof battery housing
• Better vehicle dynamics with new weight distribution
• Certified batteries with 12-month performance warranty