ZIMBABWE has broken new ground after VAYA Africa, a Mauritius-registered transportation service company on Friday launched an electric vehicle service in the country as part of the company’s rollout strategy across Africa.
“We are excited to launch the ‘VAYA Electric’ vehicle as we start our journey of deploying innovative ways of harnessing clean, renewable energy to provide safe and convenient transportation services to the public on the African continent,” Mrs Dorothy Zimuto, the chief executive officer of Vaya Mobility, said following the launch in Harare.
She said VAYA Africa planned to roll out the new VAYA Electric vehicle in West and East Africa soon, saying the vehicles would include a range of multi-purpose vehicles.
“Our e-vehicle fleet will include passenger vehicles, motorbikes, vans, buses and dump trucks, all utilising our VAYA hail riding platform. We believe this dovetails well with our vision of driving inclusive technology growth across Africa,” said Mrs Zimuto.
The VAYA Electric vehicle will be part of VAYA Africa’s VAYA Premium service, a passenger service available on the VAYA Africa application that offers a wide variety of VAYA services — including logistics services. The services are accessible online through following prompts on the VAYA Africa App, which provides different payment options.
“Electric vehicles have zero emissions and our aim is to ensure that all vehicles we have on the VAYA platform in the next 10 years are electric vehicles,” said Mrs Zimuto, whose VAYA Africa service operates the largest hail riding service in Zimbabwe.
She said electric vehicles would provide cost savings of up to 40 percent on the major running costs of fuel and regular maintenance, in comparison to vehicles that run on fossil fuels.
“The benefits of the use of e-vehicles will be less frequent services and fewer scheduled vehicle maintenance check-ins than ordinary combustion engines.
“They will require minimal scheduled maintenance for their electrical systems such as the battery and electrical motors. Other parts such as brakes also last longer because of their regenerative braking systems, where the battery is charged when breaking,” Mrs Zimuto said.
She said e-vehicles would be charged on solar or on grid-tied electric charging stations across the country.
“Our electric vehicles will be charged on charging stations deployed across the country. The stations will be built by Ugesi Energy, a subsidiary of Econet Global, to offer e-vehicle owners charging options just about anywhere around the country,” said Mrs Zimuto.
She added that VAYA Africa had provided for financing for the purchase of the VAYA Electric.
“VAYA Africa has positioned itself as an enabler in the hail riding value chain. So we will import the electric vehicles of various brands and at the same time facilitate loans to qualifying clients and VAYA partners through Steward Bank specifically for the purchase of the e-vehicles,” said Mrs Zimuto.
Many global vehicle manufacturers have been shifting towards electronic vehicles. Volkswagen recently announced it will cease making gasoline powered vehicles altogether by 2026. Similarly, the Chinese government says it is stepping up the manufacture of electric vehicles in a bid to curb carbon emissions from fossil fuel vehicles.