Rwanda’s Ampersand partners BYD to collaborate on electrifying Africa’s transport system

The Kigali-based electric transport energy company Ampersand has partnered with publicly-listed Chinese multinational manufacturing company BYD to collaborate on the decarbonisation of Africa’s commercial motorbike transport system.

Formed in 2016, Ampersand assembles and finances electric motorcycles that cost less to buy and operate, and perform better than the five million petrol motorcycle taxis in use across East Africa.

Since its commercial launch in May 2019, Ampersand’s fleet has grown to over 1,000 in size, and is expected to exceed 10,000 by late 2024. The company secured a US$19.5 million round of funding in January this year.

The partnership with BYD will see Ampersand purchase BYD’s high-tech battery cells to build around 40,000 electric motorcycles by the end of 2026, with the long-term goal of electrifying a large portion of Africa’s 30 million commercial motorbikes. This will enable Ampersand to rapidly scale its electric fleet and its charging infrastructure, which is already the largest in Rwanda and Kenya. 

“This partnership marks a major milestone for Ampersand as we continue to lead the charge in providing sustainable, cost effective, mass-market EV solutions,” said Josh Whale, CEO of Ampersand.

“BYD’s world-leading battery cells and manufacturing scale, combined with Ampersand’s deep customer insight and technical product knowledge will help fast track the electrification of Africa’s commercial motorcycles. Switching the millions of taxi and delivery two-wheelers to EV energy tech represents one of the world’s best value-for-money decarbonisation opportunities. At the same time, this transformation will save millions of hardworking motorcycle riders six hundred dollars each a year, driving clean economic prosperity.”