Electric Mobility means the use of electric power sources to power transport infrastructure. Global calls for action to address the adverse effects of climate change and increased awareness of sustainability issues have contributed significantly to the development and adoption of Electric Mobility technologies in various countries. Since the transport sector is one of the major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions and urban air pollution, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, various initiatives and innovations including Electric Mobility have been undertaken.
Electric Mobility covers a wide scope of aspects including electric vehicle manufacturing and/or importation, manufacturing and/or importation of electric vehicle charging infrastructure; product standards for electric vehicle equipment e.g batteries; consumer protection; government policies and other considerations.
Electric Mobility has gained prominence as a strategy to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality, decrease dependency on fossil fuel and boost energy security. Electric vehicles are considered to be environmentally friendly because they emit less pollutants, are less noisy, use long lasting and recyclable batteries, have affordable maintenance and running costs and are cost-effective. Electric vehicles take various forms from private cars, passenger or public transport or distribution trucks. Examples include e-buses, e-vans, e-trucks, e-motorcycles, e-wheelers, e-boats and e-rail. Several counties including Kenya have committed and are working towards adopting Electric Mobility and phasing out internal combustion engine technologies which are reliant on fossil fuels.
Some countries have adopted simple and affordable Electric Mobility technologies, for example India where small public transport vehicles have become popular and are used on a large scale and solutions while others have adopted more complex and costly solutions. Many countries or cities have committed to phase out fossil fuel technologies and some of the goals they have set include: banning the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles; setting targets for the number of electric vehicles in use; undertaking to supply electric vehicles; banning the sale of diesel cars in capital cities; formulating policies or requirements for all new passenger vehicles, light commercial vehicles and city buses to have zero emissions; banning the sale of fossil fuel-based internal combustion engines; demanding zero emission from public transportation fleet, demanding zero emission cars. In many cases, there are timelines attached to the set targets.
Vehicle manufacturers are key stakeholders in the Electric Mobility sector and have also made commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and some of the goals they have set include: adding electric vehicles to their portfolio; offering electric vehicle versions of their model cars; stopping the production of diesel cars, producing hybrid cars and eventually transitioning to fully electric vehicles; investing in research on electric vehicles; and investing in production of electric buses. It is yet to be seen what Kenya’s Electric Mobility industry will develop into and the targets.
Kenya is a signatory to the Paris Agreement and pursuant to its obligations under the Paris Agreement, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and Vision 2030, Kenya has taken various steps to put in place a regulatory framework to address climate change. Kenya enacted the Climate Change Act in 2016. With support from development partners and through inter-agency efforts Kenya has undertaken a number of initiatives including: conducting studies on Electric Mobility and particularly on importation and Taxation of Electric Vehicles in Kenya; development of electric vehicle standards; updating the vehicle registration system to include registration of electric vehicles. Kenya has introduced more restrictive emission standards and revised the age limit on imported vehicles. Electric mobility is one of the areas of focus in Kenya’s National Climate Change Action Plan (2018-2022). Other relevant policies in the Electric Mobility sector include the Integrated National Transport Policy and the Kenya National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy (NEECS) (2020).There are many private and public sector players in Kenya’s Electric Mobility industry.
CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES
Changes and advancements in technology usually pose various regulatory and legal challenges and Electric Mobility is no different. In jurisdictions where Electric Mobility is in advanced stages, it has created opportunities for infrastructure development in the transport and related sectors but it has also posed a number of challenges for regulation, infrastructure and fiscal issues, development of an institutional framework, disruption in traditional supply chains and in the job market.
Given the associated challenges and opportunities of Electric Mobility in the transport and other sectors, stakeholders in the Electric Mobility industry may require regulatory and legal solutions on various aspects including:
- Contractual arrangements between businesses and between businesses and consumers: joint venture agreements, research and development agreements, distribution agreements, supply agreements, product assembly and manufacturing agreements
- Regulatory: permitting and licensing e.g provision of services within the Electric Mobility industry and operation of electric vehicle charging stations, standards within the industry, compliance advice, consumer protection obligations, product safety
- Data privacy and protection: the operation of electric vehicle systems necessitates collection and use of personal data and therefore advice on data privacy and protection is required
- Intellectual property: advice on protection of intellectual property rights for various inventions and innovations
- Financial: structuring and financing of loans to players within the industry and use of payment systems
- Corporate: private equity and venture capital investments and mergers and acquisitions
Given the nexus between the transport sector, energy sector, environmental (climate), financial sector and others, there is a need for cross-sector partnerships, collaboration and innovation. Different stakeholders will be impacted differently by advancements in Kenya’s Electric Mobility industry. Kenya needs a robust regulatory and institutional framework in order for the government to achieve its Electric Mobility policy goals and for the private sector players within the industry to operate within a conducive business environment.
Read the original publication at MMAN Advocates.