Online Taxi-hailing company NopeaRide is set to exit the Kenyan market.
This follows the announcement that its majority shareholder, EkoRent Oy, has declared insolvency in Finland
As a result, 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 December 13, 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,” the company said in a statement on November 28, 2022.
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 three electric vehicles and two chargers.
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 led to daily kilometers driven by Nopea vehicles dropping approximately 60% overnight.
“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,” added the company.
In 2021 the company added more electric vehicles to our fleet and opened new Nopea charging stations.
In 2022, NopeaRide and a local leading technology and research university 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.
“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,” added the statement.
Since the NopeaRide launch five years ago, the company has imported 70 Nopea electric vehicles to Kenya that had driven more than 4,000,000 kilometres 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,” the company said.