27 Aug 20

Uganda to build 5,000 EVs a year

From July 2021, Kiira Motors Corp, a vehicle manufacturer owned by the Ugandan state, is to begin production on 5,000 electric buses (pictured: prototypes) and other EVs a year. That would enhance the region’s lead in EV production. VW is already assembling EVs in Kigali, the capital of neighbouring Rwanda. 
Kiira is being assisted in its plans by Chinese manufacturer CHTC Motor Co, a subsidiary of the state-owned Sinomach Automobile Co. A plant is under construction in Jinja, close to the Ugandan capital Kampala, with the ambition to locally manufacture 90% of the required components. The e-buses will be made of Ugandan steel, lithium and copper; and have bamboo floors and banana-fibre seats.

The factory’s focus will be on electric buses, which will be sold to private and public transport operators. The long-term aim is to help reduce air pollution in Kampala, which often tops the ranking of most polluted cities in the world, and other major cities in the country.  

In 2011, the team behind Kiira produced the Kiira EV, a two-passenger prototype and the first EV to be entirely designed and built in Africa. The global market for e-buses has grown from about 100,000 units in 2016 to 500,000 in 2019. Until now, 99% of the market is cornered by Chinese manufacturers. 

Image: Kiira Motors

Authored by: Frank Jacobs