Experts have revealed that scaling up electric motorbikes in Rwanda would result in an annual reduction of approximately 23 billion Rwandan Francs in fuel imports.
In a short report compiled by Andrew Sudmant, Egide Kalisa, and Jonathan Bower from the International Growth Centre, they detailed the impact of scaling up electric motorbikes in Rwanda, Authors said that reduced costs to e-moto companies would be substantial, but it is impossible to know in what proportion this benefit would accrue to motorbike drivers in the form of higher wages, motorbike companies in the form of higher profits, or to consumers in the form of lower prices.
They said a shift to e-mobility offers any large city the promise of substantial economic, environmental and health benefits.
“Electric engines are dramatically more energy efficient compared with combustion engines, potentially leading to reduced energy expenditure on imported energy. Electric motorbikes also emit no direct Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions or air pollutants from combustion, are less likely to break down, are cheaper, offer the promise of reduced congestion by moving people away from private cars and new sources of employment. At the same time, a shift to electric mobility could deprive the Government of significant tax revenue from fuel sales and increasing numbers of motorbikes and cars could pose a risk to public safety.”, Part of the report reads.
Drawing on the most up-to-date information on the sources of air pollution in Kigali, a rapid shift to 100% e-motos by 2025 would produce annual health benefits equivalent to 1350 Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) saved in 2025.
If methodology for valuing DALYs is applied, this represents a saving of 1.4 billion Rwandan Francs (RWF) per year.
To put this in context, ambient air pollution in Rwanda is estimated to cost approximately 50,000 DALYs per year in Rwanda. Based on conservative assumptions, Researchers estimate that 25% of the negative health impacts of outdoor air quality in Kigali could be eliminated by a shift to electric mobility for motos.
It should also be noted that the wider impacts on wellbeing of improved air quality extend beyond the impact on mortality and disability. Milder impacts of poor air quality, including allergies and reduced outdoor activity are not included in these figures.
Impact from reduced journey costs
Whilst e-motos are more expensive to buy than conventional motos, they have lower costs per kilometre. In particular, although electricity prices in Rwanda are high by global standards, expenditure on energy for electric motorbikes is significantly lower than for conventional motorbikes.
With current technologies, 100 RWF would provide fuel for a journey of approximately 5 kilometres on a conventional moto, but the same 100 RWF would provide electricity for a journey on an electric motorbike of 11 kilometres.
Over the lifetime of a motorbike these savings would amount to approximately 1.9 million RWF of savings in fuel expenditure.
Analysis finds that a shift to 100% e-motos by 2025 could reduce government revenue from fuel taxes by 6.1 billion RWF annually.
While this figure is substantial, it is dwarfed by an estimated 23 billion RWF that would be saved on fuel imports.
In addition, e-moto owners will buy 13.5 billion RWF of electricity annually.
Given projected excess capacity in the Rwandan electricity grid in the coming decade, this expenditure can be seen as additional to forecasted electricity revenues.
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