Estonian ride-hailing service Bolt has announced plans to roll out electric vehicle taxis to the South African market, reported TechCrunch.
This announcement came four months after the company introduced electric-bike food delivery services in South Africa.
Bolt will be introducing a “green category” that will allow customers to choose if they wish to hail an electric or hybrid vehicle.
The company plans to launch the “green category” for ride-hailing in South Africa and several other African markets, in addition to e-bike food delivery having already successfully launched in Kenya.
“We are looking to roll out a green taxi category in South Africa in the next few months and plan to roll out green categories in other African markets,” said Paddy Partridge, Bolt’s regional director for Africa and the Middle East.
The company has said it sees a lot of potential in its e-bike delivery service.
This eliminates the challenges associated with fluctuating fuel prices and tackles the issue of fuel being the highest operating cost for its couriers.
The high price of electric vehicles is one of the hindrances to the wide-scale use of electric transportation in South Africa and many other African countries.
Bolt is in discussions with various banking institutions in South Africa and the broader African market to assist Bolt drivers in acquiring the credit needed to purchase electric vehicles.
The company currently leases electric vehicles from hiring companies.
“The purchase cost and import duties are often high, thereby deterring ownership,” said Partridge.
“We are exploring several vehicle financing partnerships in Kenya and South Africa for electric cars and bikes, which would help make it easier for drivers to get access to, and eventually own, electric vehicles.”
Additionally, Bolt recently launched a car rental service in Estonia’s capital Tallin earlier this year and plans to roll out this service to other European and African markets.