Accelerating access to electric mobility

Nairobi, Kenya: InfraCo Africa, part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), EkoRent Oy and EkoRent Africa (subsidiary of EkoRent Oy) have signed a Shareholders Agreement, investing Euro 1,000,000 to enable EkoRent Africa to scale up its pioneering NopeaRide electric mobility initiative in Nairobi. The initiative will accelerate access to zero-emissions taxi-hailing vehicles for businesses and private customers.

InfraCo Africa’s CEO, Gilles Vaes said, “We are excited to be working with our partners at EkoRent to support the expansion of Africa’s first fully electric taxi-hailing service. EkoRent Nopea is InfraCo Africa’s first investment in the electric transportation sector and we look forward to harnessing the potential of electric mobility to change the lives of Africa’s commuters; improving air quality and reducing dependence on fossil fuels.”

By 2050, it is estimated that African cities will be home to an additional 950 million people. [i] Such rapid urban growth, coupled with limited public transport and dependence upon fossil fuels for vehicular transport, is expected to increase congestion and exacerbate poor air quality in Africa’s major cities. Recognising the challenge of urban transportation in Kenya, EkoRent launched NopeaRide in 2018. The continent’s first 100% electric taxi-hailing service, NopeaRide currently operates a growing fleet of electric vehicles and charging stations across Nairobi. Drivers and customers access the platform via a mobile application.

EkoRent founder and CEO, Juha Suojanen said, “We are thrilled to have signed an investment agreement with InfraCo Africa that not only enables us to increase NopeaRide’s footprint in Kenya, but also means we are partnering with an investor with years of experience and knowhow of the local markets in Africa. Our roots and company values originate from Scandinavia and Finland, but finding investors with knowledge of Africa can be a hard and long process. Now we have done it, and I look forward to growing NopeaRide together with InfraCo Africa.”

InfraCo Africa’s involvement will enable the company to grow its NopeaRide fleet up to 100 (70 additional) Electric Vehicles, in tandem with the expansion of the required charging infrastructure across the city. New charging stations will be rolled out in an efficient and cost-effective manner using data derived from Nopea applications (both drivers and passengers), Nopea vehicles, charging stations, and by monitoring of traffic flow and popular journey routes.

As well as cutting direct greenhouse gas emissions, NopeaRide’s electric vehicles and charging systems reduce the running costs and maintenance burden of its fleet when compared with taxis which use combustion engines. For drivers, these cost savings are reflected in 30-50% higher incomes than they could earn driving conventional taxis.

The NopeaRide model is highly replicable and it is anticipated that, by enabling the company to scale its offering in Nairobi, the project will attract private investment into the electrification of  transportation for private and business hire in cities across the region.

Notes to Editors:

  • Across Africa, populations are growing rapidly,[ii] with increasing numbers of people moving to urban areas for work and education.
  • The Kenyan Government is committed to expanding the role of renewables in the country’s energy mix[iii] to reduce emissions and fossil fuel dependence. This commitment extends to exploring the role of renewables in the country’s transport sector.
  • More information about the project can be found here: https://nopearide.com/

The Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG): The Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) is an innovative infrastructure development and finance organisation which encourages and mobilises private investment in pioneering infrastructure in the frontier markets of sub-Saharan Africa and south and south-east Asia to promote economic development and combat poverty. PIDG delivers its ambition in line with its values of opportunity, accountability, safety, integrity and impact. Since 2002, PIDG has supported 157 infrastructure projects to financial close and provided 209 million people with access to new or improved infrastructure. PIDG is funded by six governments (the UK, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Australia, Sweden, Germany) and the IFC. PIDG TA can provide technical assistance and capital grants to the PIDG companies to meet a range of needs associated with an infrastructure project’s life-cycle. PIDG TA can also provide up-front viability gap funding grants to support PIDG projects that require concessional funding to make a project with strong development impact financeable. To find out more visit: www.pidg.org

InfraCo Africa: InfraCo Africa is part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) and seeks to alleviate poverty by mobilising investment into sub-Saharan infrastructure projects. It does this by investing directly into early-stage projects or by funding experienced teams to provide project development leadership. Through its investments arm, InfraCo Africa can also provide equity to close a financing gap and start construction or fund innovative solutions that need support to scale-up, to pilot new products or enter new markets. InfraCo Africa is funded by the governments of the United Kingdom (through FCDO), the Netherlands (through DGIS) and Switzerland (through SECO). Since its establishment in 2004, InfraCo Africa has developed thirteen projects through to financial close. Of these, it has successfully exited five projects and is overseeing the construction and operation of the remainder.  To find out more visit: www.infracoafrica.com

EkoRent Finland:  EkoRent Oy was founded in Helsinki in 2014 and was the first company in Finland to offer fully electric hourly-based rental vehicles for private and business customers. In 2017, EkoRent Africa Ltd was established and it launched an all-electric taxi service – NopeaRide – in Nairobi the following year. EkoRent is now focused on solving traffic problems in rapidly developing African cities and is seeking to deliver clean transport for more people in Nairobi and in other cities across the region. To find out more visit: https://ekorent.fi/en/

NopeaRide: NopeaRide is an affordable way to go places, with clear conscience. The company cares about the environment. Therefore, all of its vehicles are non-polluting electric cars which reduce harmful emissions and improve urban air quality. To find out more visit: https://nopearide.com/

For more information please contact: Lorna McNae, Communications Manager, InfraCo Africa, lmcnae@infracoafrica.com


[i] OECD/SWAC (2020), Africa’s Urbanisation Dynamics 2020: Africapolis, Mapping a New Urban Geography, West African Studies, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/b6bccb81-en.


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