By Paul Ndiho
Engineers at Uganda’s kiira motors corporation recently unveiled a prototype of its sedan hybrid electric vehicle dubbed the Kiira EV Smack. The car manufacturer is slated to start commercial production of the kiira brand vehicles and passenger buses by 2018.
People are likely to ask, “What kind of car is that?” And the answer is… It’s the Kiira EV smack -, an improved version of the Kiira EV car, that was first unveiled in 2011. For those who dare to be bold, the Kiira EV Smack has a striking design – one that commands attention. Kiira Motors Corporation recently gave the Voice of America, exclusive, behind the scenes access. So let’s get inside for a test drive!
It drives and feels like any regular sedan on the market. And for those who had any doubts, it’s time to let everyone know, this sedan has arrived.
Kiira motors are a Ugandan government project, under the presidential initiative for science and technology innovations programs. The project is aimed at establishing a framework for commercial production of Ugandan made cars. Dr. Sandy Stevens Tickodri – Togboa is the executive director of the kiira EV project.
“We are now targeting the third quarter of 2018, when we think that we will begin to roll out say about 300 of these cars off the assembly line. But we are creating a capacity of about 850 per year.”
The five-seat sedan is powered by a rechargeable battery and it also has an internal combustion engine-based generator, which charges the battery.
“All these were installed here manually. We don’t have any automation at all. And these are the young people you see here who were involved in this project. The genesis of this project really goes back to the very first car that we made the Kiira EV proof of concept.
Paul Isaac Musasizi, chief innovation and technology officer of kiira motors says that kiira EV Smack has impressive power, and is designed to thrill.
“The kiira smack platform comes with three power train options. The conventional ice power train, the full electrical power train and the hybrid electric vehicle power train, which is what the concept actually is…!
Once in mass production, kiira EV Smack will be available in three packaging options, the two doors, the four doors or full size sedan– and the five door hatchback. This car was recently displayed at a public exhibition in Nairobi, Kenya. Akovuku Albert, is the chief operating officer.
“We are members of the East Africa community, and this project that we did needed to be recognized within the region. We also needed to seek partnerships, and working with other.”
The kiira EV Smack is sleek, with a leather interior and smooth transition lines across the vehicle. This creative team at kiira motors has capacity, the drive, and the passion to make this dream a reality. Doreen Orishaba is one of the engineers.
“It is very exciting to be part of a team that is going to transform Uganda because if you look at the automotive section, it’s not just about the cars themselves, but it’s going to develop the other sectors.”
Analysts say Uganda is trying to position itself as a rising force in the region, by producing the first hybrid vehicle in East Africa. Meanwhile, kiira motors already has its sights set on expanding the brand to include 32 solar-powered Kayola passenger buses.
Industry analysts say Kampala’s fast growing population and rapid urban development has meant more cars on the road– and having locally manufactured passenger buses could ease the crush of people using public transportation.
Paul Ndiho is a Ugandan – American video journalist/ executive producer, Africa Innovations & Technology based in Washington D.C with interests in innovation, technology and entrepreneurship in Africa. He is passionate about mentorship and developing the next generation of Africa’s young leaders. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org, Facebook: Paul Ndiho and Twitter: @pndiho