Uganda harnesses sun’s energy to power solar bus
Mar 31, 2016 Engineers from Uganda’s Kiira Motors recently unveiled Africa’s first solar powered bus.
The automobile, which has been dubbed “Kayoola”, runs on two batteries that are charged using solar panels fitted on the vehicle’s roof.
On a full charge, the bus can travel a distance of up to 80 kilometers. Built by over sixty staff consisting of 12 major engineers, the vehicle manufacturer said they intend to start mass production in 2018.
Paul Isaac Musasizi, CEO of Kiira Motors highlighted some of the unique features of the vehicle saying:
“The Kayoola bus is the first electric and let alone first solar bus to be built in Africa. What makes this bus pretty different from the ordinary busses we have on the roads today is that it is an electric bus, it is a battery electric vehicle meaning that we use energy stored in batteries as charge which is converted into mechanical energy by a motor which is multiplied by a transmission to give us the propulsion we need at the differential unit. This particular bus has an architecture, a power train architecture which provides for a primary and secondary energy storage,”
With solar energy holding so much potential, the International Energy Agency has pointed that the sun could be the world’s largest source of electricity by 2050, ahead of fossil fuels, wind, hydro and nuclear.
According to Musasizi, the Kayoola produces no fumes, since it runs on clean energy and will create employment for thousands of Ugandans once operations start.
“Clean technology for propulsion is one of the top advantages of what comes with this vehicle as opposed to that but also in terms of running the bus, to charge this bus fully, you are going to consume 75 kilowatt hours and 75 kilowatt hours are about 750 shillings if you do the math there we are in the neighbourhood of just over 50,000 shillings to give you 80 kilometres and a range extension of twelve in a day. So when you try to compare that with your seeing that operating-wise this bus will be more energy efficient,”