Makerere electric car finally hits the tarmac

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The car is ready,” said the Project Manager Paul Isaac Musasizi of the Vehicle Design Mission at Makerere University which has produced Uganda’s first electric car.

It was tested for road and drive performance, ability to climb steep areas, ability to pick up speed among other parameters.

“The vehicle can pick speed very fast the motor stands strong, the reverse is perfect, it properly climbed a 55 degrees incline the performance is good,” Mr Musasizi said after driving the vehicle.

More adjustments however still need to be done when the car is gaining speed as it tends to jack, more power needs to be added to the steering wheel and a hoot installed for the vehicle to be as fit as a fiddle.

The making of Kiira EV started in August 2009 with a handful of students at the College of Engineering Art and Design formerly the faculty of technology.

“It was not easy, all we had was faith and no money but luckily President Museveni gave us a grant and we immediately started the work but getting people onto the project was not easy either,” Said Mr Musasizi.

Bureaucracy to procure certain parts of the vehicle was another challenge the students had to battle with and delayed the making of the vehicle.

The success of this car draws a lot of lessons both for the University and country said the principal Investigator or the Project Prof Sandy Tickodri-Togboa.

“Because the entire staff of a faculty is not often involved in such projects, it would help if all academicians got involved.

‘‘This will improve methods of training at the University so that we are able to produce high calibre graduates,” Prof Tickodri-Togboa said. Kiira EV is a two-seater electric vehicle.

Its battery system consists of Lithium-ion batteries, its speed maximum speed is 200km/hr. It will need a recharge after running 80 km.

Although some components of the car like the steering wheel and other minor accessories were imported from manufacturers outside Uganda, most parts of the car including the core body and combustion system were designed and built locally.

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