A Ugandan car company, Kiira Motors has manufactured the first solar-powered bus in Africa. The electric bus was shown off in a test drive at a stadium in Uganda’s capital, Kampala.
Chief executive of the company, Paul Isaac Musasizi said that he had been “humbled” by the large and positive reaction to the test drive. He hopes to attract partners to help manufacture the bus for the mass market.
The 35-seat bus is uniquely designed to be powered by solar energy and intended for urban areas rather than inter-city use because of the restrictions on how far it can travel. One of its two batteries can be charged by solar panels on the roof which increases the vehicle’s 80km (50 mile) range.
Mr. Musasizi said that most of the bus parts were are locally and were assembled by a team of about 100 Ugandans. He said being privileged to be located along the equator, they saw it as an advantage to develop their transportation system technologically.
“The body is typically our roofings material and was worked on by hand. Also, the battery banks which are stainless steel were also fabricated from here. Uganda possesses polished skills to deliver automotives today.
“Uganda is privileged to be among the 13 countries in the whole world that are situated along the equator. We decided to take advantage of this strategic position to improve transport technology.”
The vision is that by 2039 the company will be able to manufacture all the parts and assemble the vehicle in Uganda.
The country’s Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Prof. Sandy Stevens Tickodri who was at the stadium for the test drive on Sunday said ‘Kayoola’ will go a long way in addressing the nation’s mass transportation problem.
“We have buses all over the world but Ugandans must be proud to be championing a technology that represents clean energy.”
President Museveni will officially launch the ‘Kayoola’ solar bus on February 16, at Kampala Serena Hotel.