Makerere University has successfully tested the first electric car to be made in Uganda. The two seated car is a project by the College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology.
Deputy Vice Chancellor Prof. Tickodri -Togboa who heads the project said the University was now targeting a 36 seater which is a bus.
“We wanted to demonstrate we are capable. After, we shall scale up and produce a seven-seater. It is this version that will become commercial,” Togboa explained.
The Kiira EV does not use fuel. The front-wheel drive has 18 horse-power and can reach top speeds of 60km per hour.
He said the electric car will use a lithium iron specialized battery like the one used in hybrid cars like Toyota Prius. The battery can take the car for a distance of 80km. However, the planned 7-seater vehicle will use electric and solar power that is capable of traveling 200km before recharging.
Togboa declined to give the cost of the car saying most of the funds went to procurement of inputs and allowances for human resource. He said the design started in 2009 while the assembling commenced in April this year.
The car’s body was fabricated out of fiberglass which is said to be durable. The university procured most of the steel materials from the Uganda and used the standard wheel system.
The Vehicle Design Project is among the over 20 innovation projects funded under the Presidential Initiative at the university. Under the initiative, the Government earmarked sh25b to the college of engineering to fund technological research over five years.
This is the second time Makerere students and lecturers participate in building affordable cars. The first case was in 2008 when a group of students partly designed an energy-efficient prototype vehicle, Vision 200. The car was exhibited at the World Design Capital in Torino, Italy in 2009. From Italy it was taken to Belgium and its now at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US because Makerere could not repatriate it.