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Uganda starts road tests for own diesel-powered bus as she eyes electric cars by June

Uganda starts road tests for locally-assembled diesel-powered bus

Uganda has started carrying out road tests for her locally-assembled diesel-powered bus and is also planning to roll out electric cars by June.

The bus has been produced at a state-owned Kiira Motors Corporation (KMC), and is a 47 seater.

According to a report by CGTN, KMC Media Strategist Ruth Nasejje said the assembly of the bus dubbed Kayoola Diesel Coach started in December last year.

 “This all new executive luxurious coach started its road drills on Monday at Luwero Industries Ltd. in Nakasongola,” Nasejje told Xinhua on Thursday.

Nasejje said the Kayoola Diesel Coach is a market ready product and not a prototype.

“KMC is already getting inquiries from interested buyers. The cost of the bus always depends on the buyers’ desired specifications since we have the capacity to modify the product according to their wish,” she added.

She further said KMC is targeting passenger service bus operators, tour agencies and government departments.

In October 2020, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni instructed all government accounting officers to procure locally manufactured buses in efforts to boost import substitution.

Ugandan government has set out June 2021 as the date for the start of manufacture of electric cars in the country, having failed to hit the 2018 deadline.

Kiira Motors took to its Twitter handle to say, “Expect us to start manufacturing Ugandan made vehicles from our vehicle plant by June 2021.”

Kiira Motors Director in charge of Production, Albert Akovuku and the firm’s Director in charge of Product Development, Richard Madanda led the team of officials in exploring a partnership with G Das Industries to manufacture key aluminium parts of the Kayoola EVS. The company noted that electric cars to be manufactured in Uganda are fully electric powered with zero tailpipe emissions improve air quality in the City through mitigation of the high transport-based carbon emissions.

There are other African countries with automobile manufacturing companies that are developing “Made in Africa” vehicles that look the most promising for the African consumer market;

In January 2021, Kenyan car maker, Mobius Motors opened a new KSh. 330 million manufacturing plant in Nairobi with an expectation to produce at least eight units at the Mombasa Road plant daily.

Industrialisation Cabinet Secretary, Betty Maina said Kenya’s dream of a locally made car has now been realized, adding that the Mobius factory brings to life the hope for a robust domestic vehicle manufacturing industry.

“I believe this will inject some impetus in this important industry,” said C.S. Maina.

Kenya has also joined the global push to promote the use of electric vehicles and reduce reliance on petrol and diesel. Fuel products are the country’s biggest import item.

Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) has unveiled plans to roll out electric vehicle charging points to boost demand for non-fuel vehicles.

According to a report by Business Daily, Kenya Power is expected to set the electric car charging points along major highways, parking lots and malls.

Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) also announced that it is investing in an electric car charging system.

Africa is in the race to catch up with developed economies globally with efforts noted in wanting to cease importing products and create jobs for locals.

This ambition, however, was almost brought to a standstill when the global economy was put on hold following the emergency of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Lawrence Baraza is a prolific writer with competencies in Digital Media, Print, and Broadcast. Baraza is also a Communication Practitioner currently spearheading Digital content on Metropol TV's Digital Desk.

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