The Swedes started electric car companies in East Africa – expanding to Sweden

Google translated article that should be of interest for our Sri Lankan friends.

The Swedes started electric car companies in East Africa – expanding to Sweden
Swedish opener Opibus converts fossil-fueled safari cars to electric cars in East Africa. But now the company is going to broaden its operations and establish itself in Sweden. Read more here and see the interview with Filip Gardler, one of two CEOs at Opibus, in Di-tv Motor.

Opibus started rebuilding safari vehicles for electric cars in Kenya as late as 2018. The company also works with renewable energy and in building infrastructure for charging electric cars in the country. By 2021-2022, approximately 1,000 vehicle conversions will be made per year in East Africa.

But the safari industry is just an entry-level market. Now the company also builds motorcycles and works with charging infrastructure.

“There are around 1.2 billion vehicles in the world that are fossil-fueled. Replacing these with newly manufactured electric cars is neither financially nor resources justifiable. By converting to electric power, we instead see the existing vehicle fleet as a platform for more sustainable mobility, ”says Filip Gardler, one of two CEOs at Opibus.
In Kenya, the established car manufacturers have not invested in selling electric cars. But the local market exists.

“The region has been a dumping market for yesterday’s technology, not just in the automotive and transport industries. But thanks to lower maintenance and fuel costs, there is a great demand for electric cars. And then you are willing to compromise, with, for example, reach, to take advantage of the savings it entails to run on electricity. ”

Opibus uses lithium-ion batteries, but with iron phosphate and not cobalt, which is the most common in the automotive industry. The batteries used by Opibus have lower energy density, but on the other hand can withstand far more charge cycles.

Choosing a different battery chemistry means that the company is not affected by any component shortage in terms of batteries.

”We have a well-established partnership with our current supplier and have production lead times in just a couple of weeks,” says Filip Gardler.

Driving an electric car in Kenya is quickly becoming a profit business, both environmentally and financially.

”You have 80 percent renewable electricity in the energy mix and the country has an excess electricity thanks to the rapid growth of wind, solar and geothermal energy.”

Opibus expects within a year to make about 1,000 conversions on a yearly basis in Kenya.

”Authorities, politicians and the business community are very welcoming, you see opportunities for a technology boost, local production and a reduced need for oil imports,” says Filip Gardler.

A similar operation will soon be in place in Sweden as well. Now the company is looking for both staff and premises.

“We have long thought about how we can take on a slightly more mature market like Sweden. But we see that we can lower the cost of the transition to electrified transport here as well and create an alternative to new purchases of electric cars. ”

The basic price of a conversion from Opibus varies depending on the vehicle, but starts at SEK 100,000-150,000 and then you get a range of about 20 km, but if you want to build more battery capacity.

So far, the conversion industry is in its infancy, with a few startups in the world. But Filip Gardler believes the market will accelerate.

“I am absolutely convinced. For example, in our French partner company Phoenix Mobility, we received about 5,000 inquiries in a short time, without any marketing whatsoever. And, as I said, replacing the existing vehicle park with newly built electric cars cannot be done. It’s about reducing the cost barrier to reach new consumer groups and accelerate the sustainable transition, ”says Filip Gardler.

Stort intresse i Stockholm och Göteborg när IT-företag från Sri Lanka kom på besök

Att svenska företag har behov och intresse för att finna lösningar på kompetensbristen och de höjda kostnaderna inom IT-utveckling kunde konstateras 6-10 maj.

Under veckan har både Stockholm och Göteborg fått besök av IT-företag från Sri Lanka.

Intresset var stort och de mer publika verksamheterna har följts upp med direkta möten.

Stockholm fick besök av företaget Efutures . Deras medarbetare Ricky Perera medverkade bl a. vid ett frukostseminarium som rönte stort intresse. Ricky fick många positiva återkopplingar och fick resten av veckan i Stockholm följa upp med separata möten. Framförallt visar sig Efutures passa bra för start-ups och scale-ups.

Mot slutet av veckan var det dags för Sri Lankas första framträdande på Göteborg Tech Week. En kvalificerad panel bestående av Nils Molin från Radar Ecosystem, Mangala Karunaratne från branschorganisationen SLASSCOM (och grundare  av Calcey Technologies samt Henrik Palmquist från Nelly. De tre berättade om sina respektive erfarenheter från Sri Lanka och av dess IT-företag. 

Sri Lanka har visat sig vara en bra partner för svenska företag vilket de gärna berättar om (se nedan för intervjuer och Radars rapport). 20-24 maj kommer Mangala och några av hans kollegor vara tillbaka i Sverige för dem som önskar träffa dem i separata möten. 


Leif I Ohlson, 070 517 28 12


Läs Radars rapport – ladda ned

Se intervju med Henrik från Nelly – video

Se intervju med Mikke från Ancon – video

Sri Lanka besökte Eskilstuna

Sri Lankas ambassadör och medarbetare tillsammans med representant för Sweden -Sri Lanka Business Council besökte tisdagen den 30 april. Syftet var att medverka på nätverksfrukost hos Munktell Science Park i Eskilstuna.

Seminariet var väl besökt och ambassaden med business council fick tillfälle att presentera möjligheterna med och på Sri Lanka. Möjligheter som är stora för små och medelstora svenska företag.

How to rise after a terrorist attack?

The dead are still counted, the screams of the injured are still heard and the tears are not dried yet.
Easter’s terrorist attack on Sri Lanka is probably one of the deadliest since 9/11 in the United States. How will a country that Sri Lanka be able to rise again? A country that has suffered a nearly 30-year civil war, a tsunami and now this. The immediate effects on the economy are already reported.
After contact with tour operators and hotels in Sri Lanka, it is estimated that a 50% decline in tourism is likely. First and foremost, the tourists who have future trips cancel in May and June, but also the winter season. In addition to this, the absence of new bookings. Of course, the tourists will return – but only after the security is perceived as significantly improved. The number of Swedes visiting Sri Lanka is about 28,000 per year and the figure has risen steadily since the end of the war in 2009. Tourism is no. 3 in terms of export revenues. Several large hotel projects are underway and planned. Several airlines have started new routes to Colombo.
Sweden and Sri Lanka have long had strong ties. The people of Sri Lanka are still grateful for Skanska and Kotmale, the hydro power plant dam, which is an important part of the country’s power supply. Companies such as Trelleborg, Tailorstore, H&M, Oriflame,, Blåkläder, IFS and Cambio Healthcare have found that Sri Lanka is a good trading partner and supplier for them. Sri Lanka’s geographical location has also made more and more people discover the country as a regional hub. Thanks to free trade agreements with many countries in the rapidly growing region, Sri Lanka can be a bridge to an expansion also for medium-sized Swedish companies.
The terrorist attacks on Easter Day do not change the Sri Lankan’s location in the region, but the political system and business life are subjected to tremendous stress. There is, of course, a legitimate concern for what can come out of this. Positive and strengthening is that the message from the Swedish business community is that now more than ever we need to be there and support. Sri Lanka will come back. Swedish tourists will once again meet fantastic nature experiences and friendly smiles. Sri Lankan IT developers, talented tailors, factory workers and many other well-educated employees in Swedish-owned companies will continue to deliver quality.
Over the coming weeks, there have been several activities planned for a long time, where Swedish companies would have the opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge of what Sri Lanka offers. None of these will be canceled.
We look forward to welcoming Sri Lankan companies to Sweden despite these difficult times.
The threat of terrorism is best met by not giving in.
The trade and meetings between people counteract the forces of evil.

Nyfiken på Sri Lanka

Läs Johanna Elisabet Bergström:s fina artikel om Sri Lanka.

”Sri Lanka är en destination som har stått på min Att Resa-lista ganska länge. Egentligen är jag inte den som skriver bucket lists men vissa resmål etsar sig fast i hjärnbarken av olika skäl. Nyligen har jag haft förmånen både att få besöka den lankesiska ambassaden i Stockholm, vid ett B2B-nätverksevent, och att träffa Sri Lanka-kännaren Leif Ohlsson, som är grundare av intresseorganisationerna Sweden Sri Lanka Business Counciloch Best of Sri Lanka in Sweden. ”

Läs hela artikeln;