Electric Vehicles are the best option for saving money and preserving nature – says Agilitee’s Dr. Lamba - UG Standard - Latest News
INTERVIEW:

Electric Vehicles are the best option for saving money and preserving nature – says Agilitee’s Dr. Lamba

Mr. Mandla Lamba, founder of South African based Electric Vehicle Company and green technology firm Agilitee Pvt

Dr. Mandla Lamba, founder of South African based Electric Vehicle Company and green technology firm Agilitee Pvt (PHOTO /Courtesy)

KAMPALA — Uganda has allocated Sh628 billion for actions to mitigate and adapt to climate change. In light of climate change, Ug Standard spoke to Dr. Mandla Lamba, founder of South African based Electric Vehicle Company and green technology firm Agilitee about climate change, electric vehicles, listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) and localization of solutions.

Below is the interview;

Q. Tell us about Agilitee and your plans to get listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange?

We were very blessed to be able to go this far on balance sheet, it is an incredible story to tell. Agilitee was founded on balance sheet and has grown from being a startup to a volume manufacturing company with no external funding, as great as this sounds but unfortunately we can’t fulfil our global ambitions if we don’t go to the public markets to raise some money.

So we are listing because we need to raise capital and that is $2 billion by selling 10% of the business. This capital will allow us to fast-track our global ambition and be able to focus on growing our business and not worry about raising money for at least 5 years. This is our first capital raising exercise and I am so happy that we are doing it on a clean balance sheet, Agilitee has zero debt on balance sheet.

Q. You have been successful with an e-scooter, tell us about this e-scooter why customisation for the African/Ugandan terrain is vital for not only function but success?

Yes, by the grace of God, we launched 3 electric scooter models. The Agilitee – Wild Grace which is a big personal commuting motorbike that has a range of 150km per charge, then we also have Agilitee – RTF which is a scooter designed for students but can also be used by adults and it has a range of 70km per charge and lastly we have Agilitee – LoadEX which a delivery scooter that has a range of 70km per charge.

The beauty of Agilitee Electric Scooters is that you don’t have to charge them as they have these removable batteries that can be swapped free of charge at our swapping stations.

Our scooters have the highest technology for scooters, among other things, our Ecosystem consists of a telematics for facial recognition and also telematics for radio frequency identification (RFID). One of the functionalities of our the telematics for facial recognition is that when a new buyer buys the scooter his face is stored in the system as security measure. Like you do with the phone, the scooter won’t start unless the face that on the screen is that of the owner or registered driver.

One if the features for the telematics for RFID is that you don’t need a tracker as the system through an app can be managed from anywhere in the world and be able to track where the scooter is, what speed it is riding at, what weight it is carrying and the battery life, all this is achieved real time from your phone or laptop. I believe it’s a great tool for fleet management.

Q. The Ugandan market purchases in the region of 1,000 new motorcycle taxi’s, locally called boda boda each year. Would you consider an assembly plant in Uganda to service the East African Market?

Assembly is a must in every country, that’s how you improve localization and create jobs for the economy. As a pioneer of EV in Africa, Agilitee wants to do better and differently in each country. What we have seen from western companies they import vehicles and products into the African economy and make billions of dollars from it, then turn around and move the funds oversees with no economic development just abusing and exploiting Africa.

I believe as leaders of the New World we should push the concept of localization and governments should prioritize it as means necessary to ensure that funds don’t leave an economy to elsewhere without creating jobs and empowering our people.

Q. Why does going electric matter today? Especially with fuel prices up globally….

We are at the intersection where what used to be is not crossing over and what will be is taking over. We have witnessed the hyperinflation that has made the cost of leaving unbearable for our people in Africa, this trend is expected to continue as the crisis in Ukraine escalates. On the other hand, global warming remains an imminent threat to humanity and going green is the best option for saving money and preserving nature.

Q. Why are there few African e-mobility service providers today like yourselves, is it an issue of enabling laws?

Yes, by the grace of God, we launched 3 electric scooter models. The Agilitee – Wild Grace which is a big personal commuting motorbike that has a range of 150km per charge, then we also have Agilitee – RTF which is a scooter designed for students but can also be used by adults and it has a range of 70km per charge and lastly we have Agilitee – LoadEX which a delivery scooter that has a range of 70km per charge. The beauty of Agilitee Electric Scooters is that you don’t have to charge them as they have these removable batteries that can be swapped free of charge at our swapping stations.

Our scooters have the highest technology for scooters, among other things, our Ecosystem consists of a telematics for facial recognition and also telematics for radio frequency identification (RFID). One of the functionalities of our the telematics for facial recognition is that when a new buyer buys the scooter his face is stored in the system as security measure. Like you do with the phone, the scooter won’t start unless the face that on the screen is that of the owner or registered driver.

One if the features for the telematics for RFID is that you don’t need a tracker as the system through an app can be managed from anywhere in the world and be able to track where the scooter is, what speed it is riding at, what weight it is carrying and the battery life, all this is achieved real time from your phone or laptop. I believe it’s a great tool for fleet management.

Q. The Ugandan market purchases in the region of 1,000 new motorcycle taxi’s, locally called boda boda each year. Would you consider an assembly plant in Uganda to service the East African Market?

Assembly is a must in every country, that’s how you improve localization and create jobs for the economy. As a pioneer of EV in Africa, Agilitee wants to do better and differently in each country. What we have seen from western companies they import vehicles and products into the African economy and make billions of dollars from it, then turn around and move the funds oversees with no economic development just abusing and exploiting Africa.

I believe as leaders of the New World we should push the concept of localization and governments should prioritize it as means necessary to ensure that funds don’t leave an economy to elsewhere without creating jobs and empowering our people.

Q. Why does going electric matter today? Especially with fuel prices up globally….

We are at the intersection where what used to be is not crossing over and what will be is taking over. We have witnessed the hyperinflation that has made the cost of leaving unbearable for our people in Africa, this trend is expected to continue as the crisis in Ukraine escalates. On the other hand, global warming remains an imminent threat to humanity and going green is the best option for saving money and preserving nature.

Q. Why are there few African e-mobility service providers today like yourselves, is it an issue of enabling laws?

There’s 189 EV startups across the world 92% of which have spent the last 24 months building prototypes, R&D ends up costing them an arm and a leg which is why 99% of them don’t make it.

Then we have the 8% of those who have passed the prototype stage, yet have not done volume manufacturing because they lack funds and they spent all the money during R&D stage, 99% of these also don’t make it.

The only way we will have participation in the industry in Africa, is if entrepreneurs don’t chase to design the greatest tech nor the most beautiful car but look to solve the biggest problems in mobility in Africa.

Agilitee as a pioneer of the industry in Africa has done it differently. There are times we have the greatest technology but we don’t have the design, since our focus is solving problems we don’t mind partnering or buying the design or the technology from another player oversees and in the end we get to solve the biggest problems.

This method is cost effective because you spend lesser on R&D and spend more on volumes when you get to manufacturing. If you don’t understand those basics in EV, you will not survive long term. To answer your question, these are the reasons you don’t see many players in the African market.

Q. What is the future of electric transportation in Africa and what factors influence this future?

It is so green, Africa is going on the forefront of the green revolution this is because of many reasons including the minerals that are so vast for EV battery manufacturing and so forth. This will put Africa in the forefront of the New World Economic System and make it the fourth powerful and wealthiest continent in the world by 2032.

Q. Any other comments.

It is time for Africa to work together to rebuild what was destroyed by our colonizers and those who exploited us for the past two centuries. Africa is a unique environment with great wealth. It will take only Africans to show the world what Africa is made of, while at it, let us put God first in all that we do so that He can prosper us as we bring the true economic liberation of our continent.

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