Karaa Africa CEO, Mutabazi Debunks Some Common Misconceptions About Electric Vehicles

Geofrey Mutabazi, Co-founder and CEO of Karaa Africa. COURTESY PHOTO Geofrey Mutabazi, Co-founder and CEO of Karaa Africa. COURTESY PHOTO
<center>Geofrey Mutabazi, Co-founder and CEO of Karaa Africa. COURTESY PHOTO</center>

Electric vehicles (EVs) have gained significant popularity in recent years, with growing interest in Africa, but they are still shrouded in misconceptions. In a chat with Geofrey Mutabazi, the Co-Founder and CEO of Karaa Africa, he debunks some of the common misconceptions that users and onlookers have about electric vehicles.

Karaa Africa is a startup providing sustainable, cost-effective transportation solutions with durable and easy-to-service electric delivery bicycles.

Fewer moving parts, lower expenses

One of the most prevalent myths is that EVs are more expensive to maintain than their gasoline-powered counterparts. However, this is far from the truth. In reality, EVs have fewer moving parts, which significantly reduces the need for frequent repairs and replacements.

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Highlighting the benefits of EVs in terms of maintenance, Mutabazi says;

“When it comes to maintenance, electric cars don’t need a lot of maintenance. Secondly, the total cost of ownership is much lower, mainly because they have fewer moving parts. So when you look inside an engine while it’s running, it’s so many things going up and down and sideways. And all of those parts, all of those things that are moving, all the mechanical components typically need to be replaced or repaired as they’re moving all the time creating a lot more need for maintenance,” he explains.

He adds, “With an electric car, the main thing that moves are the motors, and depending on the size of the configuration of the motor, some cars have one motor, some have two motors, some have three, some have four. And that is the major maintenance piece. Everything else is the battery, you know, and a few other basic parts that also move around a bit.”

Range and charging

Another misconception is that EVs are not suitable for long distances. However, advancements in battery technology have significantly extended the ranges of EVs, making them more than adequate for daily commutes and moderate-distance travel.

Mutabazi emphasizes that EVs are not just for short distances; they can be used for longer trips, especially with the increasing availability of charging infrastructure.

In 2022, TechJaja reported that the government plans to create a National Charging System (NCS) by 2030 that will cover at least 25% of the electrified total fleet. Once the National Charging System is up and running, it will provide stability, and help investors and users to get into the EV space.

Battery degradation

Regarding the concern that EV batteries degrade quickly and require frequent replacement, Mutabazi notes that most modern electric vehicles have battery warranties of up to 8-10 years or around 100,000 miles. Data has shown that many EV batteries can also retain substantial capacity beyond these periods, with gradual loss of charge capacity over time rather than sudden failure.

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Power and performance

As for power and performance, Mutabazi also addresses the myth that EVs are slow and lack power.

“You’ll find that someone will buy an electric car, for range, they want an EV that gives them 300 or 400 kilometers of range —and because of that higher range, it will cost them about $40 or $50,000. But in many cases, daily, they’re only using the car in urban settings for maybe a maximum of 20 to 30 kilometers a day. Their commute to work and back home —and then for one long trip to the village, you incur an extra few thousand dollars. You could have bought a cheaper electric car with a smaller battery that serves your daily needs.”

While concluding our chat, Mutabazi emphasized that EVs are environmentally friendly and practical & efficient choices for modern transportation. By debunking common misconceptions, consumers can make more informed decisions based on the practicalities and benefits of owning an EV.

As technology progresses and infrastructure expands, the advantages of electric vehicles will likely become even more apparent, paving the way for a greener, more efficient future in transportation.

This article was written in collaboration with Douglas Kikonyogo

ALSO READ: UBER LAUNCHES AFRICA’S FIRST ELECTRIC BODA BODAS IN KENYA

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