NopeaRide Electric Vehicle taxi service in Kenya is unplugging for good

Dear Friends of NopeaRide Taxi Hailing service and Electric Mobility,

Following the announcement that our majority shareholder, EkoRent Oy, has declared insolvency in Finland, we are sad to announce that InfraCo Africa Limited the minority shareholder has now filed for the liquidation of EkoRent Africa Limited in the High Court of Kenya. This is due to the fact that EkoRent Oy was the principal financier of EkoRent Africa Limited and all the technical knowledge on the running of the business lay with EkoRent Oy.

A mention date has been set for 13th December 2022.

We have taken our fleet of electric vehicles off the road and have notified our staff and corporate clients. We are now working with relevant authorities to ensure that our operations are wound up in accordance with local legislation.

NopeaRide service was first launched in Kenya in August of 2018 (under the name NopiaRide) by a Finnish company EkoRent Oy founded in 2014. Nopea started with a small minimum viable product in Nairobi with only 3 electric vehicles and 2 chargers and our fleet and charging network grew very moderately in the following year. Towards the end of 2019 Nopea received new funding and placed orders for additional electric vehicles and chargers. Unfortunately, many of the additional vehicles arrived in Nairobi at just about the same time when the strict Covid-19 curfew rules were put in place in March 2020. Those rules lead to daily kilometers driven by Nopea vehicles dropping approximately 60% over night. The timing of these additional Nopea vehicles arriving in Kenya could not have been much worse.

While Nopea as every other taxi company in Kenya suffered from the restrictions, we used a good part of 2020 developing our software further and negotiating for additional equity investment. Those negotiations finally came to a successful conclusion at the end of 2020, only a few months after Jomo Kenyatta International Airport was re-opened. As Covid-19 related curfew restrictions were lifted in steps and traffic in Nairobi was slowly beginning to normalize, we trusted that the year 2021 would be a better year for Nopea and Electric Mobility in Kenya.

In 2021 we added more electric vehicles to our fleet and opened new Nopea charging stations. Nopea grew, but we never reached the traffic levels we had before the pandemic related curfew rules were put in place. Many companies still had a significant portion of employees working from home, and economy had not recovered leading to reduced number of private taxi users.

Year 2022 started with us publishing very exciting news. NopeaRide and a local leading technology and research university had signed a cooperation agreement to build a Solar Charging Car Port for Nopea electric vehicles with an option for electric BodaBoda (eBoda) battery swap stations. When closing the initial equity round for NopeaRide, we had estimated the number of vehicles needed to break even in Kenya. We were still short of that number by around 20 vehicles and signed an agreement with a financing consultant in February 2022 to helps us find the needed financing. Funds would be spent to break even by adding more vehicles in our Nopea fleet, piloting eBoda 2-wheelers that would not remain in our balance sheet and consume our resources as much as 4-wheelers, and to expand our services outside of Nairobi.

In the first half of 2022 our traffic numbers grew to about the same level as before Covid-19. We also started to put more effort in the corporate segment as their employees were returning to office and managed to sign contracts with a few big international companies, some of them potentially reserving the majority of available Nopea capacity. However, EkoRent OY went into insolvency in Finland and was unable to secure additional financing to grow the business in Nairobi to the next level.

Since the NopeaRide launch 5 years ago, we have imported 70 Nopea electric vehicles to Kenya that had driven more than 4 000 000 kilometers by June 2022 saving over 650 tons of CO2 emissions. NopeaRide also operated the largest electric vehicle charging network in East Africa.

We would like to extend our deepest regret to our dedicated team of staff and drivers. We would also like to thank our loyal NopeaRide customers, corporate clients and other partners who have supported NopeaRide’s vision for electric mobility in Africa.

Thank you all again for your support,

NopeaRide Team