The state-owned vehicle manufacturer Kiira Motors plans to start production of electric vehicles in Uganda in July 2021. The plant that is under construction in Jinja shall make 5,000 electric buses and other EVs per year.
Uganda is not as much of a stranger to vehicle production as it may seem. VW is already assembling EVs in Kigali, the capital of neighbouring Rwanda and is mobility pilots there as reported.
For Kiira, owned by the Ugandan state, support for the EV plant comes from the Chinese manufacturer CHTC Motor. They are already constructing the plant in Jinja, close to the capital Kampala, with the ambition to manufacture 90% of the required components locally. Ugandan steel, lithium and copper are to help make the electric buses. There is also talk of bamboo floors and banana-fibre seats in the local media.
It is also not the first electric vehicle from Kiira once the e-buses will hit the market in summer next year. The team behind Kiira produced the Kiira EV, a two-passenger prototype and the first EV to be entirely designed and built-in Africa back in 2011 – as a PHEV. The website also shows the Kayoola bus with a spec range of 300 kilometres.
The new factory will concentrate on producing electric buses for the public and private transit companies. Technical data is missing at this point in time. What is new is the number of 5,000 units as before, the series runs were small.
Kiira reasons that the global market for e-buses has grown from about 100,000 units in 2016 to 500,000 in 2019 with Chinese manufacturers serving most of the demand. This is to change, even if it the company relies on China’s CHTC to upscale production as mentioned before.
The long-term goal by Kiira Motors and their EVs made in Uganda is to reduce air pollution in Kampala, that counts among the most polluted cities in the world, and other major cities in the East African country.