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KIIRA EV to focus on assembly of buses

FILE PHOTO: Museveni launches the Kayoola Bus, one of the projects of Kiira EV

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Kira Motor Corporation will first centre its attention on assembly of buses, as it bids to enter car assembly and manufacturing business in a commercial set up.

Cabinet last week approved a road map for commercialization of Kiira Motor Corporation which will be undertaken in phases.

Government will inject 144 billion Shillings in the project. In the financial year 2018/2019, government has committed an allocation of 24 billion Shillings to kickstart the projected. It is hoped that Kiira EV cars will be on the Ugandan markets by 2022.

Kiira Motor Corporation Vice President for Marketing and Sales, Allan Muhumuza told Uganda Radio Network in an interview that centring on the bus will enhance local content participation. For instance, he said, the Kiira kayoola bus prototype, unveiled in 2016 had 60 percent of its parts sourced locally.

Muhumuza say attracting local suppliers for bus parts creates more opportunities in the short term in the manufacturing value chain. In terms of impact, Muhumuza adds that the bus, as a flagship product, can be used to serve a greater number of Ugandans.

The commercialization project is expected to create over 2000 direct jobs and about 12,000 indirect jobs, catalyses investment by small and medium enterprises in the manufacturing of vehicle parts and hike demand for the utilization of natural resources such as steel from iron ore, plastics from oil and gas, among others.

Muhumuza told URN that Kiira Motor Corporation is in talks with reputable global vehicle technology and assembly partners that will assist them in setting up an assembly plant in Jinja.

Government has already allocated over 100 acres of land in Jinja industrial park to Kiira motors. This is where the car assembly plant will be allocated.

Muhumuza explains that the role of the car manufacturer will be to establish the assembly plant and transfer knowledge to Kiira engineers. The global car manufacturer will help Kiira to acquire proven technology and move into the market faster.

The car assembly that will be established will be assembling both conventional and electric cars. The conventional cars will be phased out later. Muhumuza says the Kiira motor vehicles will be competitively priced given local content addition. He says the reduction in production costs due to local chain value addition will lower price of their products, making them competitive on the market.

Kiira EV started as a Makerere University students’ project. In 2008, Makerere engineering designed and built a five-passenger plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, Vision 200, which was exhibited in Torino Italy in 2008. This gave birth to Makerere University Centre for Research and Transport Technology in 2009 to champion research and development of eco-friendly transportation solutions for Uganda and Africa.

Under the Presidential Initiative for Science and Technology, the students and their lecturers launched a two-seater electric car in 2011, naming it Kiira EV.

The government took over KIIRA EV project it 2014 through Uganda Development Corporation Limited (UDCL). On April 1, 2014, UDCL caused the incorporation of Kiira Motors Corporation (KMC) with UDCL as the sole shareholder in KMC.
On June 6, 2014, Kiira Motors Corporation with the concurrence of Uganda Development Corporation lodged with the registrar of trademarks an application for registration of Kiira EV as a trademark.

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