Wahu Mobility, E-Mobility, ev bike, electric bike, Global, International

Wahu Mobility Advances Electric Mobility In Ghana

The cost of manufacturing EVs has gone down, making them more affordable for consumers.

Valerie Labi, the co-founder and CEO of Wahu Mobility, the ebike manufacturer and delivery service provider, spoke at the University of Michigan’s William Davidson Institute in April, highlighting that the average age of vehicles in Ghana is approximately 14 years old. She emphasized her company’s dual mission of addressing two critical challenges: designing vehicles tailored for African conditions and offering reliable transportation solutions.

Mobility, particularly e-mobility, can help supplement a lack of a public transportation system with vehicles that private citizens can use. According to a recent scholarship from the World Bank, the cost of manufacturing EVs, mainly two- and three-wheeled EVs, has gone down enough to make them a significant portion of a country’s movement toward sustainable mobility. 

In February 2024, Wahu Mobility of Ghana inaugurated the country’s inaugural electric vehicle (EV) assembly plant. Established in 2022 through the merger of Cargo Bikes and Mana Mobility, both enterprises operated by African women, Wahu Mobility primarily specializes in electric bicycles tailored to Ghana’s terrain. This initiative forms part of its broader mission to empower riders across Ghana.

As Innovation Spark reports, Wahu Mobility received a significant investment from Blue Lion in 2023, which allowed the company to expand production, invest in research and development, put more effort into marketing, and expand distribution. Though most discussion of EVs is tethered to the automotive industry, implementation of the technology in that sector has been disjointed, particularly from American manufacturers. 

Wahu brings together talent from Ghana and experienced engineers and designers from global brands like BMW and Audi. Labi is a serial impact entrepreneur who holds degrees from the University of Southampton and the University of Cambridge. 

According to Wahu’s website, the company is committed to making sustainable transportation accessible to all, which is evident in its lease-to-own program called ride-to-own.

Once a rider makes their initial deposit, the bike is delivered within 2-3 business days as long as e-bikes are available. Registration for the bikes is completed via a mobile app, the Wahu Rider App. Maintenance on the bikes is not free, but the maintenance is subsidized, meaning riders will only pay part of the cost of repairs. 

Ghana also needs the charging infrastructure for EVs, which Dr. Aruna Sivakumar, the director of the Urban Systems Lab, said is a problem in many developing countries.

As Sivakumar writes for Energy Futures Lab’s website, “Therefore, the transition to electrification of road transport must be accompanied by appropriate policies to ensure that accessibility (especially for the poor) is not compromised. Aggressive electrification without consideration of transport planning principles of equitable access will result in major setbacks for the low-income populations in these countries.”

In 2023, Impact Hub Accra, a social entrepreneurship and innovation center in Ghana, partnered with Siemens Stiftung to implement a Made In Ghana project to help facilitate, among other things, the creation of charging infrastructure in Ghana, the decarbonization of transportation in Ghana, and bringing stakeholders into the funding equation. 

According to Will Senyo, the CEO of Impact Hub Africa, the hope is that the investments into Wahu Mobility and other companies in the EV space will translate to more sustainable and inclusive transportation in Ghana.

“Collaboratively, we are working with regional institutions, businesses, academics, and administration on technical issues to foster more sustainable, accessible, inclusive, and efficient urban transportation in the country,” Senyo said.

RELATED CONTENT: Electric Vehicles Release More Toxic Emissions Than Regular Gas-Powered Cars