Ugandan Students Build Their Own EV

Makerere University is Uganda’s largest and second oldest institute of higher learning. The students in the African nation, it seems, are putting all that book learning to good use. The university recently announced that the Centre for Research in Transportation Technologies (Vehicle Design Project), College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology has successfully conducted the first test drive of its flagship concept, the two-seater electric vehicle (EV).

The car, named the KIIRA EV, is the culmination of three years’ work by the university’s 25-person team. Although some components of the KIIRA EV, like the steering wheel and other minor accessories, were imported from manufacturers outside Uganda , most parts of the car – including the core body and the electric system – were designed and built locally with the assistance of local craftsmen.

uganda EV

image via African Automotive Design Association

According to the projects leader, Tickodri Togboa, the KIIRA EV’s lithium iron batteries generate 18 horse power that can push the car to 60 km per hour (about 40 MPH) with an estimated range of about 80 kilometers (about 50 miles). Togba told coastweek.com that if the car was to go into commercial production it would cost up to 15,000 U.S. dollars.

The 25-member team that developed the KIIRA EV is now at work designing and manufacturing a 30-seat electric bus designed for Uganda’s capitol city, Kampala.

Steve Duda lives in West Seattle, WA with three dogs and a lot of outdoor gear. A part-time fly fishing fishing guide and full-time writer, Steve’s work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Seattle Weekly, American Angler, Fly Fish Journal, The Drake, Democracy Now! and many others.