12 Aug 2019

Lisa Conibear, Shell Foundation

Lisa Conibear, Shell Foundation

How do you think the electric vehicle and smarter mobility industry in Africa will perform in the next 1 - 5 years?

I have seen a lot of innovation happening at a grass roots level, there are start-ups working on new battery technology, asset finance models and fit for purpose vehicles. I think that these innovations will start to prove out product/market fit and will encourage and the entry of large players in the sector. I think that within five years we will start to see adoption of electric vehicles (from motorcycles to tuk tuks to mini vans) at a large scale.

What are the top burning electric vehicle and smarter mobility challenges faced in Africa right now? 

Asset finance and completing with low cost ICE vehicle imports. Batteries are expensive and the upfront costs of investing in electric vehicles often make the investment prohibitively expensive. Asset finance is not available to most vehicle purchasers, and the model for battery swapping vs battery ownership has not yet been identified.

What are the key trends in Africa that drive the electric vehicle and smarter mobility industry? 

There is a lot of energy around data creation and real time data creation. The real time movement of people and goods is a black box for people, governments and corporations – and this data is valuable. I think that we will continue to see innovation in this space. I am also seeing lots of work being done around the “formalisation” and tech revolution within informal transport, think motorcycles and mini busses which constitute 40-70% of transport in African cities. Informal operators are looking for ways to improve their business models, increase revenue and offer better services for passengers. Even for informal transport it can be innovate or be obsolete.

What are the key opportunities and challenges?

Electrification, smart informal transport and a focus on improved service in information transport – let by tech.

How do you foresee smarter mobility in the future?

I see companies selling SAAS solutions to informal operators, the electrification of the motorcycle (and broader vehicle) space and mobile money taking over cash payments for transport.

The top 3 themes you will share/have shared at the seminar/conference?

  • The opportunity within informal transport

  • The role of impact investing in African mobility

  • Business models which are transforming mobility for the average African

What is one piece of advice you’d give to a company in the electric vehicle and smarter mobility industry?

Be customer centric –your customer is both the operator/driver and the passenger

What current innovations are you aware of in the electric vehicle and smarter mobility industry?

Too many to count, business model, battery types, vehicle innovation.

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