In Kampala, street vendors, erratic drivers and hundreds of commuter taxis contribute to the traffic chaos in the city centre every day.
But after road tests around Kampala last week, Kiira Motors newly released 12-metre long Kayoola Electric Buses (EVS) have proven they can reduce the traffic chaos and the huge number of commuter taxis on roads in the city centre.
They carry 90 passengers (49 sitting and 41 standing) and that can help take hundreds of taxis out of the city. The buses are also fitted with automated coronavirus disinfectant sprinkle systems designed to diminish the spread of Covid-19 as the country prepares to live with the virus in the long term.
The buses also have on-board Wi-Fi for travellers, USB charging ports, display boards for timely, accurate information dissemination and a ticketing system that allows seamless fare transactions.
Kiira Motors Corporation says it’s ready to produce and supply both electric and diesel combustion engine buses to transport operators in Kampala city and the rest of the country. The company is also targeting car markets in the East African region and Africa.
Kayoola buses have lower operating costs compared to diesel combustion engine buses. They cost about Shs 320 per kilometre compared to Shs 1,670 for a diesel bus over the same distance. This also means that the electric buses are more energy-efficient and environment-friendly.
“It should be noted that the battery life of the Kayoola EVS electric bus is up to 3,000 charge cycles (900,000km) compared to 200,000kms of a typical diesel engine,” a statement issued by the company reads in part.
The floor of the Kayoola EVS bus is made of bamboo while the interior is mainly made of plastics and aluminium. The body panels are supported by a steel superstructure.
All these locally available materials provide an unprecedented opportunity for local manufacturers to make components to feed the production line at the Kiira Vehicles Plant.
Paul Isaac Musasizi, the Kiira Motors chief executive officer, said the company can produce eight buses every month. The company, he said, is ready to take orders to produce buses at the UPDF’s Luwero Industries Ltd in Nakasongola before shifting to the Kiira Vehicles Plant in Jinja Industrial and Business Park mid next year.
According to Allan Muhumuza, the KMC business development manager, the new electric buses can cover a distance of 300 kilometres under a single charge. They have a speed governor that allows a maximum speed of 80 kilometres per hour but can pick up to a speed of 140 kilometres per hour.
📹/Kiira Motors pic.twitter.com/j3yqMM6c6X— The Observer (@observerug) May 22, 2020