Ethiopia's Dodai raises $4 million Series A amid government's push to ban fuel vehicles

March 24, 2024
2 min read
  • Dodai, an electric vehicle manufacturing company based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, recently secured $4 million in Series A funding from Nissay Capital, Musashi Seimitsu, and Inclusion Japan to scale.
  • 80% of the funds raised will be used to bring in electric motorcycle parts and lithium batteries. The remainder will go towards operational expenses and software development. The startup intends to launch a battery-swapping system by the end of 2024.
  • This news comes as the Ethiopian government pushes hard on its green initiatives, making a move to ban fuel-powered vehicles in the country.

Dodai is a Japanese electric vehicle and motorcycle manufacturer based in Ethiopia, which has 7,200 EVs out of 1.2 million cars on its roads. The EV startup assembles and sells electric motorcycles. 

Yuma Sasaki's Dodai has now raised $6.2 million since its launch in 2023, including the most recent funding round. The investment is arguably the largest amount raised by Ethiopian startups in a single round.

The EV startup’s electric bikes are reportedly capable of running up to 150 km per charge. The lithium batteries are also said to last up to eight years. Meanwhile, Dodai customers can also rent scooters on a short-term basis.

Musashi Seimitsu, a Japan-based automotive parts supplier, sees collaborating with and investing in the startup as a strategic move to help solve regional mobility issues and expand its e-mobility business. It also plans to expand the provision of new EV solutions in the African market.

Future collaborations between the two EVs include the development of EV scooters based on Musashi's e-Axle, the release of three-wheeled vehicle products, and data collaboration.

In February 2024, Alemu Sime, the Ethiopian Minister of Transport and Logistics, announced the government's decision to allow only EVs into the country. The move places a ban on gasoline and diesel-powered cars. The announcement follows the completion of Ethiopia’s Logistics Master Plan, involving the implementation of “Green Transport” in the country.

Owners of fossil fuel-powered vehicles must also submit their vehicles to stringent smoke tests; those that do not pass will have their licences revoked.

The government also intends to establish EC charging stations and to exempt electric cars from value-added tax (VAT), excise tax, and surtaxes starting in 2022.

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