Electric Cars in Kenya – how much would it cost to import?

We Ele Cars often get enquiries about how much it would cost to import a fully battery electric vehicle (BEV) into Kenya but until recently I had not been able to estimate the duty costs for an electric vehicle because there was no guidance from the KRA on the tariffs levied on such vehicles.

However, in more recent times the duty estimation for an electric vehicle has been outlined by the KRA and in this brief blog we will explore how this duty is estimated and how it compares to the duty for conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.

While we are aware of many popular BEVs such as the Nissan Leaf, Renault Zoe, Jaguar I-Pace, Porsche Taycan, Mercedes EQC and Teslas, only the Nissan Leaf is currently listed on the KRA CRSP import list. This does not mean that other BEVs cannot be imported into Kenya, they indeed can, but the CRSP value used to calculate the import duty for these vehicles will need to be clarified with the KRA prior to import.

For this reason, we will be using the Nissan Leaf as our example in this blog. Please note that the calculations performed in this blog are approximations and used for demonstrative purposes only. Please seek expert guidance while estimating duty payable for vehicle importation.


As a general guide*, the table below compares and outlines the various taxes for direct import vehicles of varying engine size.

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From the table, it can be seen that the excise duty increases as the engine capacity of the internal combustion engine vehicle increases, which is why importers tend to focus on vehicles with smaller engines that attract less duty and therefore have a more favorable final selling price once landed in Kenya.

With the BEVs, the size of the battery or electric motor has no effect on the excise duty, which is kept at a flat rate of 10%. This duty is lowest out of all engine types and is probably set this way to encourage electric vehicle uptake (even though this is likely to be slow due to the lack of charging infrastructure amongst other factors).

To estimate how the excise duty affects the total duty payable, we will explore a calculation using the CRSP of a Nissan Leaf (CRSP of KSh 4,810,550) across the different categories of vehicles.


As can be seen in the table, the duty payable is the lowest for the 100% BEV and ranges between KSh 70,000 to KSh 170,000 less than the other engine categories. This does not seem much when considering the overall cost of importing a vehicle (cost of buying the vehicle, freight, marine insurance etc.) but it is a decent amount.

The difference in duty payable is more noticeable if comparing two vehicles with higher CRSPs such as a VDJ200 Landcruiser VX V8 with an equivalent high-end electric vehicle (Mercedes EQC maybe?). As can be seen below, the difference would be approximately KSh 600,000.

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While setting the excise duty for a 100% battery electric vehicle lower than the internal combustion engines is a welcoming step by the government to promote electric vehicle imports, there are still many more incentives and infrastructure developments that will need to be made to truly boost uptake of electric vehicles in Kenya.

*Please refer to current KRA Valuation Template for detailed information and guidance as this information is subject to change.