Graham Sustainability Institute

How Much Will Electrifying Motorcycle Taxi Fleets in Uganda Help Human Health and Reduce Emissions?

Project Team

Michael Craig - U-M School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS) (PI)
Pam Jagger - U-M SEAS
Herek Clack - U-M College of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE)
Étienne Saint-Sernin - Zembo co-founder
Daniel Dreher - Zembo co- founder
Thomas Courtright - U-M SEAS/TCAUP
Jacob Calzavara - U-M Erb Institute
Junghoon Park -U-M Erb Institute

Project Summary

Rapidly urbanizing cities across low and middle-income countries suffer from poor air quality, which contributes to morbidity and mortality. In these cities, transportation fleets are major emitters of local air pollutants and often include hundreds of thousands of fossil-fueled motorcycles.

Companies like Zembo (est. 2017) have begun to deploy electric motorcycles to yield social and environmental benefits, including improved air quality and health outcomes. Working closely with Zembo, this project team will develop a modeling framework to estimate the emission benefits of the company’s operations, as well as the benefits that would come from a widespread shift to electric motorcycles across Kampala, Uganda, where Zembo is headquartered.

Focusing on the transition from fossil fuel to electric motorcycles, the project team will analyze five factors: motorcycle technology, electricity sources, vehicle emissions, transportation infrastructure, and travel considerations (daily trips, traffic, and charging/fueling needs). Understanding the emission-savings potential of each of these factors could yield large, diverse benefits in across Sub-Saharan Africa, home to over 1 billion people.

This project received a $10,000 Catalyst Grant in 2020.