Kiira Motors Corporation is set to launch the first solar-powered bus ‘Kayoola’ in Africa in the corporation’s vision to spearhead the automotive industry in Uganda.
‘Kayoola’ can be loosely translated as ‘mass carrier’.
The Kayoola bus is uniquely designed to be powered by solar energy to make it environmental friendly.
It relies on 2 power banks (lithium-ion batteries) which power an electric motor that is coupled to a 2-speed pneumatic shift transmission.
The 2 power banks operate in automatic alternation to enable real time mobile battery recharging while the other is in use.
Mr Isaa Musasizi, the CEO Kiira Motors Corporation told journalists during the test drive at Namboole stadium on Sunday that Kayoola was built at an estimate of Shs 500m.
With a seating capacity of 35 passengers, the bus has a power capacity of 150KW (204HP) Peak and solar power of 1320W.
The solar panels on the roof harvest energy to run the bus on a range of 80kms (approximately 8 hours of nonstop movement).
“Uganda is privileged to be among the 13 countries in the whole world that are situated along the equator. We decided to take advantage of this strategic position to improve transport technology,” he said.
Mr Musasizi stressed the fact that most of the bus features are locally sourced and were assembled by a team of about 100 Ugandans.
These did the wielding, spraying, wiring among others.
“The body is typically our Roofings material and was worked on by hand. Also, the battery banks which are stainless steel were also fabricated from here. Uganda possesses polished skills to deliver automotives today.”
Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Prof. Sandy Stevens Tickodri who officiated at Sunday’s test drive said ‘Kayoola’ will go a long way in addressing Uganda’s mass transportation problem.
“We have buses all over the world but Ugandans must be proud to be championing a technology that represents clean energy,” said the Minister who birthed the idea of manufacturing Uganda’s first electronic car Kiira EV while still a Professor at Makerere University.
He said the innovation has raised the regional standard, adding; “The Kayoola sets a green precedence and inspiration trend for technological future in urban mobility for East and Central Africa.”
President Museveni is set to officially launch the Kayoola solar bus on February 16 at Kampala Serena Hotel.
Kiira Motors project is an industrial development intervention fully funded by Government of Uganda. It is aimed at establishing vehicle manufacturing capabilities in Uganda for Pickups, SUVs, Sedans, Light and Medium duty trucks and Buses.
The article was published in Rising Africa.