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Bolt to fund low-emission cars for Nigerian drivers

Bolt Technology, a rival to Uber in Africa and Eastern Europe, has signed a deal to enable Nigerian drivers to take part in a lease-to-own plan for ten thousand brand new energy-efficient cars.

The agreement is with Yamaha Corp.-backed Metro Africa Express and allows drivers from the ride-hailing firm in Nigeria to make down payments of as low as 5% or around N500,000 depending on their credit score, and pay the balance over five years, according to a statement on Tuesday.

A deployment of energy-efficient vehicles — valued at about $20,000 each — “will deliver significant reductions in carbon emissions,” Guy-Bertrand Njoya, chief executive officer of Metro Africa Express, said in a Bloomberg interview.

Both electricity or gas-powered cars will be available, he said.

Read Also: Bolt launches early cashout option to improve drivers’ liquidity

The deal comes as Nigeria looks at cutting gasoline subsidies by the second half of next year, a move that could see prices at the pump more than double.

Africa’s largest economy has one of the lowest fuel prices in the world at about 40 cents a litre, kept artificially low by the government.

Metro Africa Express, also known as MAX, has set up charging stations in the cities of Lagos, Ibadan and Akure, all in the south of Nigeria. Drivers of its vehicles are achieving “savings of 15% compared to existing alternatives,” Njoya said.

MAX raised $7 million in 2020 from investors including Yamaha and plans to seek additional cash to meet increasing demand.

Estonia-based Bolt is the dominant ride-hailing firm in Nigeria, with about 35,000 drivers. The MAX deal could potentially add another 10,000 drivers over the next five years, Femi Akin-Laguda, country manager, said.

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