BODAWERK rebrands to GOGO, partners with Watu in Boda Boda electrification

Kampala, (UG): In a landmark move set to redefine the future of transportation in Uganda, homegrown electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer BODAWERK has unveiled a strategic partnership with Watu, a prominent financial services provider.

The collaboration aims to fund an ambitious expansion project and electrify the country’s beloved Boda bodas while simultaneously revealing a rebranding effort to mark the company’s evolution into GOGO.

This announcement was made during a customer service appreciation on October 4th and a celebration of Uganda Independence Day at a luncheon hosted for over 400 boda boda riders in Kampala.

GOGO’s partnership with Watu represents a significant milestone in the company’s journey. Watu, known for its expertise in providing financial solutions to entrepreneurs, will play a crucial role in funding GOGO’s expansion and electrification projects.

Central to this partnership is the electrification of Uganda’s iconic Boda bodas, the popular motorcycles that are a staple of the country’s urban and rural transportation networks. GOGO plans to replace traditional petrol-powered Boda bodas with clean and efficient electric models, reducing emissions and fuel costs.

“BODAWERK will now be known as GOGO, as we start our journey to transition the Ugandan Boda industry to electric bikes over the next two years. To bring this to life, we have partnered with Watu who will help finance our expansion initiatives as well as provide credit for boda boda riders to switch to EV,” said Mr Ben Lokeris Koriang, founder of GOGO.

BODAWERK now GOGO partnered with WATU to launch new EV motorcycles in a bid to popularize electric bikes in the country

During the event, Francis Chandia, EV Manager at Watu, said that the future of transportation is electric because it offers an affordable and healthier alternative to fuel-powered vehicles.

“Aligned with Uganda’s ambition of increasing the number of EV vehicles by 2026, our partnership with GOGO is timely, as we will help GOGO accelerate the production of EV bikes for the market and increase the number of batteries swapping stations,” Mr Chandia said.

“In addition, we will provide financing to many boda operators to make the switch,” he added.

By providing accessible and affordable financing for electric vehicles, this partnership is poised to accelerate their adoption and significantly contribute to the nation’s sustainability goals.

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The Kampala City Authority estimates that there are 150,000 motorcycles in Kampala, less than 1% of these are electric. Over one million motorcycles are on the roads in Uganda, with about 750,000 operating in Kampala, Mukono and Wakiso districts. This means there is a market for hundreds of new electric bodas in Kampala over the next two years.

The State Minister of KCCA and Metropolitan Affairs, Kabuye Kyofatogabye said that the government is in support of this partnership because they wouldn’t have enough money to inject in replacement and swapping.

“We have almost 3 million motorcycles in the country. If you look at the cost of 5 million, the government doesn’t have the 15 trillion to replace all of these,

“If we such investors to come in, it makes everything swifter. All they need from us is guidance basically,”

Boda boda riders account for more than 80% of the Ugandan motorcycle market and GOGO targets to secure 1,000 riders on the road and 2,000 battery swaps per day by the end of 2023, and 20,000 riders consuming 3GWh of electricity per month by the end of 2024.

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Watu’s involvement extends beyond funding; they are also providing tailored financial services to Boda boda operators.

Additionally, the company aims to commission East Africa’s largest lithium-ion battery pack factory in 2024.

By transitioning to electric Boda bodas, not only will Uganda experience a significant reduction in harmful emissions, but riders and operators will also benefit from lower operating costs. Electric Boda bodas are more energy-efficient and have substantially lower maintenance expenses.

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