Ampersand build electric motorcycles (e-motos) and battery charging and swap systems for motorcycle taxi drivers in East Africa. The company is based in Kigali, Rwanda where motorcycle taxis make up over half of all vehicles on the road. The first e-motos were launched in May 2019 with a small number of drivers and Ampersand now plan to play a key role in Rwanda’s transition to electric motorcycles. The company also aims to target other East African countries where there are large markets for motorcycle taxis.
Market Suggested Retail Price
Distributors / Implementing Organizations
The e-motos are designed and assembled in East Africa, using off-the-shelf parts where possible. Ampersand opened the region's first lithium-ion manufacturing facility in Rwanda for the production of their battery packs. Ampersand plans to have production at +1000 battery packs in 2021.Interview with manufacturer 2020
Intellectural Property Type
User Provision Model
Ampersand offers riders the option to either purchase the e-motos outright or lease them on a pay-as-you-drive model. Battery swap stations allow for depleted batteries to be replaced by charged units, where the driver pays for energy used.
Distributions to Date Status
As of 2020, 3 swap stations and 25 Ampersand e-motos are operating in Rwanda.Interview with manufacturer 2020
The e-motos can travel at a top speed of ~80 km/h, have automatic transmission and front and rear disc brakes. There is a high power brushless DC motor in the rear wheel with electric regenerative braking. Each e-moto features a storage compartment and a high power LED headlight. The lithium batteries are expected to deliver around 60-90 km of range and can be swapped out at charging stations in less than 2 minutes. They have built-in safety against impact and short circuit, fast charging and passive cooling technology. The batteries are managed through Amper-Ops online and mobile platforms which can track information such as the number of swaps, revenue, and ride distance. It offers battery health analysis and geofencing alarms, along with a smart maintenance system providing pre-emptive automatic alerts on battery and vehicle repairs.
The battery fleet management platform features smart maintenance systems that automatically alert Ampersand to required battery or vehicle repairs before breakdowns happen.
Standard motorcycle components like mirrors, handlebars and lights are made to be replaceable. The standard aftermarket spare parts are commonly available in East Africa.
Expected lifespan of the battery is ~7 years and vehicle is ~4 years assuming it drives 180 km a day. Warranty is 12 months or 10,000 km.Interview with manufacturer 2020
Manufacturer Specified Performance Parameters
Ampersand aim to double motorcycle taxi drivers' income by saving money on vehicle cost and fuel. They also aim to out-compete petrol motorcycles on power, durability and performance. By utilising solar power, they plan to contribute towards a zero carbon future in Rwanda and East Africa.
Vetted Performance Status
Ampersand conducted lab and road testing on five different prototype vehicles in 2018, before finalising the current design. Calculations by the manufacturer estimate that e-Motos can half drivers' daily fuel costs from ~5.50 USD to ~2.70 USD, which would result in additional yearly profits of up to 900 USD. They also estimate that e-Motos produce 75% less lifecycle greenhouse gas emission then petrol alternatives while being more comfortable and powerful. However, no third-party testing has been completed.
Complementary Technical Systems
Amper-Ops online and mobile platforms and Ampersand battery swap systems.
Academic Research and References
Compliance with regulations