By Paul Ndiho
After a successful launch of the Kiira EV and Kiira EV Smack – Ugandan engineers at Kiira Motors Corporation have done it again. They recently unveiled the first solar-powered bus, a 35 seater dubbed Kayoola.
For those who thought that it’s impossible to manufacture anything in Africa – Think again. Kiira Motors Corporation, earlier this month, unveiled its 35-seater Kayoola bus. The Ugandan car manufacturer is slated to start commercial production of the Kiira brand vehicles and Kayoola passenger buses by 2018. The cost of the bus is estimated cost about $58,000 and is expected to create more than 7,000 jobs.
“Perhaps this is another remarkable example of products built by talented Ugandans. It’s designed right here in the Ugandan capital Kampala.”
The bus code-named ‘Kayoola, with its striking design is one passenger service vehicle that commands attention. It has a range of 80km when fully charged and it also has solar panels on its roof, which give it a daily range extension of 12km.
Last year Kiira Motors Corporation gave the Voice of America, an exclusive behind the scenes access. So let’s take you inside.
It drives and feels like any regular passenger bus on the market — for those who had any doubts. It’s time to let everyone know this Kayoola has arrived.
Dr. Sandy Stevens Tickodri – Togboa, Minister of state for Higher Education and Technology says Kiira Motors is a Ugandan government initiative aimed at establishing a framework for commercial production of Ugandan made cars.
“We are now targeting the third quarter of 2018, when we think that we will begin to roll out these cars and buses off the assembly line. But we are creating a capacity of about 850 per year.”
The 35-seater Kayoola bus is powered by a rechargeable battery in addition to the solar panels on its roof.
Paul Isaac Musasizi, Chief executive Officer, Kiira says the Kayoola bus has Impressive power, and was designed to thrill and intended for urban areas rather than inter-city use because of the restrictions on how far it can travel.
Once in mass production, Kayoola bus will be available in different packaging options; this bus was recently taken on a test drive, debuted at a public exhibition in Kampala.
Analysts say Kiira Motors sets a good precedence and inspiration trend for the technological future of urban mobility for East and Central Africa and Ugandans must be proud to be championing a technology that represents clean energy with many positive reactions to the test drive.
As for my review, Kayoola presents itself well. What distinguish the bus’s exterior design from most buses on the market are the details, leather interior and smooth transition from glass-to-sheet metal that makes it look sleek.
Paul Isaac Musasizi, observers that the creative team at Kiira Motors has the capacity, drive and passion to make this dream a reality.
Economists say Uganda is trying to position itself as a regional automotive force by producing the passenger buses. Kampala, like in many African capital cities, has a fast growing population and rapid urban development that has meant more cars on the road. So it’s beneficial to have locally manufactured passenger buses that could ease roads jammed with traffic.