When Brahim Lazrak was appointed as the General Manager of Moroccan import and distribution company Multitrade in 2017, he was tasked with coming up with a new strategic direction to help grow the firm even further. Looking to leverage the company’s experience and networks in the importation and distribution of various products around Morocco, Brahim pitched the idea of importing and distributing electric scooters to the board of directors. There was no real big player in the market around that time and he saw this as an incredible opportunity to not only create the market but also to help lead the transition to electric mobility in Morocco.
Brahim became interested in electric scooters when joining Multitrade through his niece who was studying in China at the time. His niece was very fond of her electric scooter. She was always excited to share her experiences of her electric commute in China with family back home. Multitrade was solely in the business of import and distribution of feed and food raw materials and although the area of electric scooters was not related to their core business, they saw the value proposition was compelling for the customers as electric scooters offer considerable savings on operating costs compared with the standard ICE scooters.
In 2018, Brahim and team then decided to go to China to meet with several of the big players in the electric scooter industry to test out some of the products in that market with the intention of striking partnerships and starting to import them and distribute in Morocco. They then started importing and distributing electric scooters under the E-moto Morocco brand.
“We identified the type of scooters we wanted and started to ship them to Morocco,” said Brahim. “It was very difficult in the beginning as we were the first real player in the market and therefore we essentially had to create the market. We had to start intensive education campaigns to raise awareness and teach people about the benefits of switching to electric mobility.”
Since it started about 5 years ago, E-moto Morocco has sold over 400 electric scooters in Morocco. There are now over 2,000 electric scooters in Morocco with other firms having joined the industry. E-moto is proud to have helped kickstart and grow the sector. “Our awareness programmes have helped shed light on the value proposition of electric scooters and we are proud to have played a key role in growing this sector.”
New competitors are benefiting from E-moto’s awareness programs, and E-moto sees this as a healthy development for the industry. “There about 2 million ICE 2 wheelers in Morocco, with about 90% of them being ICE scooters, so there is definitely a large addressable market for electrification. Most of the are 50 CC and therefore one does not need a licence to use them in Morocco. Most of the scooters are for personal use, however, there is a growing market for last mile deliveries.”
Rising fuel costs have been a big factor in recent times as these have helped solidify the business case for consumers to switch to electric scooters. For example, for one to go 100 km on an ICE scooter at the current fuel prices of $1.3 per liter, one needs to spend around $4, compared to about $0.40 to go the same distance on an electric scooter at the current electricity prices of $0.15/kWh in Morocco. So, it’s 10x cheaper to ride electric! Then there is maintenance as well, where on an ICE scooter one generally spends $7 to $8 per 1,000 km on oil changes, etc., whereas on an electric scooter one only spends about $15 for every 5000 km.
E-moto’s electric scooters are not far from price parity with equivalent ICE scooters on the market in Morocco. The popular gas scooters range from $1,000 to $2,000 depending on the model and E-moto electric scooters range from $1,200 to $2,300 depending on the model, motor power, and battery capacity. All of E-moto’s scooters only use removable lithium-based batteries (LFP & NMC). This helps consumers, especially people in the city who live in high rise and densely populated areas, as they can remove the battery pack and charge it upstairs in their apartment. Li-based batteries are more convenient as they are much lighter and therefore easier for people to carry up to their homes. E-moto’s models come in two battery options, one with a 1.44 kWh battery pack and one with a 2.88 kWh battery pack. E-moto has 2 showrooms in Morocco and is now looking to open more as well as grow strategic partnerships with companies that retail ICE scooters and which already have a presence all over the country.
E-moto currently imports the electric scooters as semi-knocked-down kits and then assembles them in Morocco. E-moto’s medium term goal is to progress to full assembly with at least 60% local components. Unlike in Europe, India, and other places, there are no incentives for electric scooters in Morocco. E-moto has been engaging with key stakeholders to try and push for these to supercharge the sector. Morocco’s population is around 36 million, and accelerating the transition to cleaner transportation will be critical in the interest of public health by displacing the popular ICE scooters with these new electric models
Morocco is targeting 52% of renewable power capacity by 2030, including large hydro, up from a 36% share in 2019. Under its Nationally Determined Contribution, Morocco has also committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 42% compared to the business-as-usual levels by 2030. It would be great to see Morocco hit those targets and even exceed them. The transition to electric mobility will play a key role along this journey. On the four-wheeler vehicle side of things, Morocco has a growing Tesla fan base with well over 100 Teslas in Morocco, all unofficial imports. Morocco does, however, host the first ever Tesla Superchargers on the African continent. The Citroen Ami is also assembled in Morocco.
Morocco wants to be the largest automotive market in Africa in terms of vehicle and component assembly and manufacturing. It’s great that there is already an EV like the Ami being made in Morocco, and I hope to hear news of more electric vehicles being produced there.
So, Morocco’s EV ecosystem looks like it is starting to get some traction. We will be following the market closely and provide regular updates.
Source: Clean Technica