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Uganda launches Africa’s first solar-powered bus

It is a 35-seater electric solar bus with a range of 80 km. In Uganda sustainable mobility starts with the first solar-powered bus.

It is the first solar-powered bus ever built in Africa, more precisely in Uganda. The Kayoola bus, conceived by the Kiira Motors Corporation, was launched on 16 February in the streets of Kampala, the country’s capital.

 

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A moment of the official ceremony in which President Yoweri Museveni participated, 16 February 2016 © Kiira Motor Company

 

The bus has seats for 35 people, driver included, and an electric engine powered by two batteries. One is connected to 12 solar panels on the roof, while the other is charged when the bus is parked. According to the company, it takes an hour to charge a battery.

 

“In Uganda, we have non-stop sun”, the company’s CEO Paul Isaac Musasizi said, as reported by the CNN. “No other countries manufacturing vehicles are on the equator like Uganda. We should celebrate that, and make a business out of it”.

 

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The bus’ test drive. A ranhe of 80 km © Kiira Motor Company

 

Solar-powered bus. Why it is the future of Africa

The company, financially supported by the Ugandan Government, has developed this bus that has an elegant and modern design as well as a prototype of a new hybrid saloon called EV Smack. The technology, engineering components and design have been conceived by Ugandan professionals, a sign that the country has focused on training and research and is developing designers and engineers that can stand comparison with their peers in the international market. “By launching the bus, we are saying Uganda now has the potential to add value in the world, especially within electric technology”, Musasizi confirmed.

 

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The Kayoola bus in the streets of Kampala. © Kiira Motor Company

 

This is just the latest project realised in Africa that has to do with renewable sources. There are plenty of projects for the construction of renewable energy-fuelled plants across the continent, from Morocco to Kenya and South Africa. This is confirmed by a recent report released by the International Energy Agency (IEA), which in the 2015 Energy Outlook defines Africa as a fast-growing continent thanks to renewable energy.

 

“Determination, pride, focus, motivation, well I call it passion”, the team member Jonathan Kasumba said. “It’s an honor to be part of a team that boldly goes when few dare to tread. Changing minds to realize the future today”.

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