OPINION: What is the Future of Electric Cars in Uganda and Africa?

By Moses Sserwanga

When Engineers at Kiira Motors Corporation, (KMC) unveiled electric concept vehicles, the Kiira EV and the Kayoola Solar Bus the first of the kind on the African continent, not many predicated that electric cars are taking center stage in the automotive industry across the globe.

Renowned carmaker Volvo has since announced that all its new models will have an electric motor from 2019.

The Chinese-owned firm, best known for its emphasis on driver safety, has become the first traditional carmaker to signal the end of the internal combustion engine as we have come to know it.

It plans to launch five fully electric models between 2019 and 2021 and a range of hybrid models.

It is also not a secret that Kiira Motors Corporation  also have a hybrid model, the Kiira Smack on their concept innovations display.

Geely, Volvo’s Chinese owner, has been quietly pushing ahead with electric car development for more than a decade.It now aims to sell one million electric cars by 2025.

International Automotive Industry commentators state that Volvo’s announcement is a direct reflection of where the auto industry is headed.

Early this month, US-based electric car firm, Tesla, announced that it will start deliveries of its first mass-market car, the Model 3, at the end of the month.

Elon Musk, Tesla’s founder, said the company was on track to make 20,000 Model 3 cars a month by December. His company’s rise has upset the traditional power balance of the US car industry.

Tesla, which makes no profits, now, has a stock market value of $58bn, nearly one-quarter higher than that of Ford, one of the Detroit giants, that has dominated the automotive scene for more than a century.

And when the boss of Europe’s biggest listed oil company says his next car will be electric, it says a lot about the future of fossil fuels.

So the question then is; what is the future of electric cars in Uganda and the African continent in general.

Future of electric cars in Uganda and Africa

The Chief Executive Officer, of Kiira Motors Corporation (KMC), the winners of the prestigious, 2016 Frost & Sullivan Award for Visionary Innovation Leadership, Paul Isaac Musasizi, has offered some interesting insights about the future of electric cars in Uganda and the African Continent.

Kayoola Solar Bus
Kayoola Solar Bus

Musasizi says that the solution to rising trends in urban pollution due to mobility technology is to go for electric public mobility technology, “Electric Buses for Urban Public Transport”.

Musasizi refers to key statistics from several analysts which highlight that with the used vehicle imports representing over 85% the annual stock of vehicles registered annually in Uganda at an average age of 16 years at registration, it is not surprising that these end-of-life vehicles contribute to the declining national fuel efficiency and transport-based carbon emission which rose to 13.7L/100km and 0.5kg/km in 2014 respectively.

He further observes that with the import value of vehicles and vehicle parts rising from USD 89.7 Million in 2000 to USD 550 Million in 2015, the industry requires key reforms aimed at cultivating domestic value addition and strategic focus on green mobility especially for urban mass transportation.

Musasizi’s views are echoed by Royal Dutch Shell Plc , Chief Executive Officer Ben Van Beurden who recently noted that the whole move to electrify mobility in Europe, china and the United States was good to protect the environment and ensure sustainable development for the present and future generations.

Because of the importance Shell attaches to environment conservation, Van Beurden will switch from a diesel car to a plug-in Mercedes-Benz S500e in September 2017.

The United Kingdom said it will ban sales of diesel- and gasoline-fueled cars by 2040, two weeks after France announced a similar plan to reduce air pollution and meet targets to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

Kiira Motors Corporation the pioneers of the green (clean energy) mobility technologies in Uganda, East Africa region and the African continent last year won the prestigious Frost & Sullivan Award for Visionary Innovation Leadership.

Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award to a company that has demonstrated the ability to understand and leverage global Mega Trends, integrating this vision into processes to achieve strategic excellence.

According to Frost and Sullivan,  Kiira Motor’s vision extends far beyond that of standard vehicle manufacturing processes.

“Its sustainable mobility solutions provide massive opportunity for vehicle development and commercialization in a country that is lagging behind in African and global automotive indices.’’

The focus on developing sustainable electric, hybrid, and solar vehicles will allow KMC to capture the leadership position in an uncontested market space,” said Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst ZiyaadHanware.


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