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Roam opens mega electric motorcycle plant in Kenya

By , Africa editor
Kenya , Africa , 10 Mar 2023

Roam – a tech company that develops, designs and deploys electric vehicles tailored for Africa – has unveiled a sizeable production plant in Kenya, and is aiming to produce 50 000 electric motorcycles per year.

The new 10 000-square-meter facility, Roam Park, unveiled yesterday, will house the company’s East African headquarters, electric motorcycle production lines as well as battery development labs.

In addition, this new location, the company said will enable Roam’s engineers and technicians to increase capacity throughout the assembly process and improve overall safety and quality.

“This new facility will allow for an expanded production and have an annual capacity of 50 000 motorcycles while maintaining a carbon-neutral assembly, which are the goals in the coming years.”

Founded in 2017, Roam has tapped into the expertise of Brett Mangel, former Tesla chief operations officer, to oversee operations at the facility.

At Tesla, Mangel focused on service operations in Europe, including the Model 3 launch, environmental health and safety, quality control, logistics and delivery process. He also led European real estate expansion.

Turning to its new facility, Roam said, the new premises will combine the production, distribution, and storage operations under one roof, creating a technology hub while reducing the company’s overall carbon footprint.

Roam’s expansion on the continent comes at a time analysts are forecasting growth of the Africa electric vehicle market.

Research firm Mordor Intelligence says Africa’s electric vehicle market is growing, noting that it was valued at $11.94 billion in 2021, and it is projected to reach $21.39 billion by 2027, registering a compounded annual growth rate of 10.2% during the forecast period.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) this week named Roam as one eight start-ups that are helping transform fast-growing cities for the future.

WEF noted: “Based in Nairobi, Kenya, Roam focuses on all-electric conversion kits for fleet vehicles with combustion engines, such as light trucks, public transport and buses, as well as electric motorcycles and energy systems. While invented in Sweden, it became the first company to deliver locally designed and produced electric motorcycles and electric buses on the African continent.”

The company's growth is expected to continue in 2023 as it continues to expand in East Africa.

Currently, Roam has more than 150 skilled employees, within design, engineering and production.

“I am very proud of the team for the work they’re doing during this phase of expansion. It’s exciting to envision the improvements in production efficiency we will achieve and the new jobs that will be created as we continue to grow,” said Japheth Ruttoh, head of production at Roam.

Bangel commented: “Moving ahead with this new production facility represents a significant step forward in bringing sustainable mobility solutions to Kenya. With some of the brightest talent, key partners, and access to a good infrastructure and logistics network, Roam is confident that this new location is a step in the right direction.”

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