Ugandan startup Bodawerk converts gas engine bikes to electric ones

Bodawerk bikes

A Ugandan startup named Bodawerk is trying to revolutionize the Boda Boda industry in East Africa with a technology solution that converts gas engines to electric ones.

Based in Ministers Villages in Ntinda, Kampala, Bodawerk International Limited is headed by Jakob Hornbach, who holds a Master of Science in Industrial Engineering from RWTH Aachen, Germany.

To run the startup, Hornbach works alongside Ben Koriang, who also graduated from RWTH Aachen with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering and Esther Angella Jane, who studied Procurement and Supply Chain Management at Makerere University Business School, according to the company website.

The Boda Boda industry is one of the biggest drivers of the economy in East Africa. For instance, a 2018 report showed that, in Kenya, Boda Boda operators had generated more money than Safaricom, which is said to be the most profitable company in the region.

The industry has already attracted a number of innovative solutions, including social enterprises like Tugende that are helping youths acquire motorcycles easily and ride-hailing companies that are trying to professionalize the industry.

As for Bodawerk, seeing the constant rise in fuel prices, they are trying to recycle materials like Lithium-ion cells from laptops, power banks among other battery-powered electronics to make a rechargeable power supply for motorcycles thus reducing the cost of maintaining a motorbike.

With this, the company is not only helping Boda Boda riders but also contributing to environmental conservation, saving energy and creating jobs in the recycling and manufacturing industries in Uganda.

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An official we spoke to for this story said they are currently buying old lithium-ion batteries from laptops and they’re looking for distributors.

He, however, declined to discuss the process of developing electric motorcycles and when they’ll start selling their services since they are still in the production phase.

As Bodawerk prepares to launch in the market, it faces competition from other players like Zembo which has promised to start selling electric bikes in Uganda in the first quarter of this year, Ampersand in Rwanda and Pfoofy Power & Light Limited in Kenya.

Meanwhile, Bodawerk says it is also developing other products like power banks and solar fridge power back-ups.


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