By Our Senior Writer
On a chilly Sunday morning of 28th August 2022 at 0600 hours East African Standard time, the first ever electric bus to ferry passengers for public transport in Uganda and East Africa at large, pulled out of Bweyogerere stage on Jinja Road for a dry run on its historic route to Busega -on the major southern interchange of Kampala city, a 22 kilometre journey, and proceeded to Entebbe road up to Kawuku, giving a ride to early Sunday worshipers.
And thus started a new era, with Uganda beginning to use its own buses, designed and built by its children, for its public transport.
uganadaupdatenews has learnt that the Kampala Capital City Authority has issued a license for the 22 kms route to Kalita bus company which will ply the northern bypass between the two busy suburbs five times daily, seven days a week.
This is the culmination of 12 years of research and development by a team of Ugandan engineers that started 12 years ago at Makerere University to develop Uganda’s electric vehicles. The OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturing) venture was streamlined and grew out of Makerere into Kiira Motors Corporation (KMC)- a government entity owned 96% by government through the ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation –STI under the presidency and 4% by the university.
Besides designing and building prototypes of saloon cars, KMC has since embarked on the commercial road by making several electric buses –the Kayoola EVs- two of which were deployed in the Civil Aviation Authority mid 2019. These are clocking 50,000 kilometres on the road anytime from now, during which they have not experienced any technical failure.
In addition, KMC already has orders to build buses from transport companies, some electric, some low –emission diesel. The Kayoola Diesel Coach has also been under use by Kalita for several months, working in Western Uganda and has transported Ugandans across the border to Kenya.
For now the Kayoola buses are being built at Luwero Industries in Nakasongola but after the first half of next year, KMC’s modern plant- the Kiira Vehicle Plant being constructed in Jinja is expected to be commissioned. On the premises is also a modern inspection station for all types of buses, which will help promote the safety of passengers on board buses.
For now, unacceptably many diesel buses crash on Uganda’s roads and the casualties are terribly high. One of the explanations for this is that many buses being built in some African countries and imported into Uganda are actually built on lorry chassis and lack the technical attributed that would make them safer had they been designed as buses. The Ugandan transporters and travelers can be assured that the Kiira Motors built buses are of world class standards-using materials recommended for passenger vehicles and designed by Kiira Motors Ugandan engineers .
The deployment of electric busses will, after a critical number gets onto the road, help reduce dangerous exhausts that affect health as the carbon emissions exacerbate global warming which is behind the climate change crisis. Air pollution mostly by vehicular exhausts-on end of life vehicles , kills 60,000 people in Uganda in a year – which is 40 times higher than the rate at which Covid-19 was killing people at its height.
Economically, electric buses will also reduce Uganda’s whopping import bill for fuel and combustion engine vehicle spares of about $2billion per year.
But even equally important, a maturing automotive industry in Uganda is poised to create over a million jobs both directly and also up and downstream.
Do you want to buy a locally made durable bus (both electric and diesel ) please contact kiira motors Corporation at their home in Ntinda, Kampala Uganda.
Telephone contact ;0783039613
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