Ugandan University Unveils Concept Electric Car

Electric cars run on electricity generated by lithium-ion batteries.

Speaking at a workshop at the Royal Suites Hotel in Bugolobi yesterday, Richard Madanda, a research assistant at the Makerere University College of Engineering and Technology, said the car would not use fuel.

The car, codenamed KIIRA EV, is a two-seater. Its front-wheel drive has 18 horse power. Experts say it can run 60km/ph.

The car research project is headed by Tickodri Togboa, a renowned professor of mechanical engineering, who is also the university’s deputy vice-chancellor.

“All major works on the car are complete. The steering, braking, suspension and drive systems have been installed. The chasis and frame have also been fabricated,” Madanda said.

He said the team is working on the car’s electronics, diagnostics and communication network.

To facilitate the communication network, the car is fitted with special computers to monitor the battery level and other systems.

The car’s body has been fabricated out of fiberglass, which Madanda said was durable.

The university procured most of the steel materials from Roofings ltd 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.

Inspired by the Vehicle Design Summit, a global student-led consortium, Makerere said the electric car project is aimed at developing sustainable, affordable and environmentally-friendly transport solutions for Africa.

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.

Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, the principal of the college of engineering, commended the team for working within the scheduled time frame.

Officials also narrated the progress of 10 other projects. These include the manufacturing of solar water heaters, electronic waste disposal and cheap irrigation systems.

Togboa and the university secretary, Muhwezi Kahunda, also applauded experts at the college of engineering for recent innovations that reduced absenteism in school hildren.