Both Kampala, Uganda and Kigali, Rwanda have unveiled electric vehicle assembly plants in the past two months, blazing the regional trail with Kenya and Tanzania only making baby steps toward embracing the new technology.
Uganda’s state-owned Kiira Motors Corporation has so far shown the biggest ambition in the region by building two battery-powered cars and a solar electric bus.
The electric bus, called the Kayoola Electric Vehicle Series (EVS), has been built using Kiira Motors home-grown green mobility technologies while partnering with Chinese Equipment Manufacturer, Motor Co. Ltd.
The buses can cover a distance of 300km under a single charge and have a capacity of 90 passengers (49 sitting and 41 standing), compared with the diesel engine ones which have a capacity of 65 passengers.
Last year Uganda committed nearly $6.4 million to put the first fully home-made car on the road. The amount is part of a planned $39 million spending over four years, 2018 to 2022.
In Rwanda, German automaker Volkswagen started assembling electric vehicles in Kigali in October this year, with the German power equipment firm Siemens planning to set up 15 charging stations in the Rwandan capital.
This comes after a local Rwandan firm, Ampersand, started selling electric bikes powered by batteries that can last for about 75km of riding.
East Africa’s uptake of electrical vehicles however remains extremely low compared to global leaders, according to Global EV Outlook report 2019.
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