Pulcherie Adjoha and Seraphin Zounyekpe
COTONOU (Reuters) – Shrouded in exhaust fumes, Arouna Gdamassi roars silently through rush hour traffic in Benin’s commercial capital Cotonou slide.
This 40 year old informal trader proudly owns an electric two-wheeler made by Indian company M Auto , the company launched its bikes this year in neighbouring West Africa, Benin and Togo.
“Very practical. Less noise and less pollution,” Gdamassi sat on his green and yellow electric moped as other mopeds crashed into the rough road behind him.
M Auto has sold more than 2, 000 electric mopeds in West Africa since May Target is annually Have more than 15, -end. on African roads
“We want to start in West Africa because there is already this culture of two-wheeled transport,” said M Auto CEO Shegun Bakari, who estimated some 80 Millions of Africans are regular motorcycle users.
Rising fuel prices and concerns about deteriorating air quality in urban centres are driving commuter demand for electric two-wheelers, M Auto said.
When the battery is low, the rider does not have to stop to charge, just replace 1, 000 CFA francs ($1 .45) Transfer at M Auto in Cotonou one of the stations.
But when private users take the bait, the army of veteran motorcycle taxi drivers who transport residents around the city is proving harder to convince.
Some people worry about having to plan their route around battery points instead of filling up from banned gasoline suppliers on almost every street corner.
David Socho 30 points out that gasoline costs him 3 on the black market, 65 CFA franc ($5.65) and lasts at least four days – far more than an M Auto battery, approx. 100 kilometer.
“I can buy it for my wife to buy groceries,” the taxi driver said. “It’s beautiful, but I think it’s more for leisure than work.”
($1=689.689 CFA franc)