Makerere University has successfully tested an electronic vehicle, Kiira EV, manufactured by students of the College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology. Makerere Vice Chancellor, Prof. Venansius Baryamureeba described the technological innovation as a historic moment.
The car was assembled by a team of eight with Paul Isaac Musasizi, the project manager and technical director of the Vehicle Project Makerere, as the team leader, Richard Madanda (electrical), Fred Matovu (mechanical), Jonathan Kasumba (Fine Artist), Gerald Baguma (programmer/ communications), Nasser Gyegenda (mechanical), Pauline Korukundo (programmer) and Nancy Ssenabulya (programmer/research assistant).
The overall head of the project was Prof. S.S Tickodri Togboa, a renowned professor of electrical engineering and computing, who is also the university’s deputy vice-chancellor. The project was funded under the Presidential Initiative at the university, through which sh25b was earmarked to the college of engineering to propel technological research over a period of five years. It also received additional support from the Gatsby Garage near the college and Kagimu and Habib Investments.
The battery can last for a distance of 80km before recharging for 3-4 hours with electric power. The car has zero noise and fumes emissions. Test drives revealed the reverse was perfect but in forward drive the car jerks a bit. The steering needs powering and the breaks still need a boost. The car is also missing an internal system censor, air conditioning, a speedometer and system to power the windows and doors.
The prototype cost the college $35,000 (Sh98.3m) to assemble but officials believe the cost can be brought down to $15,000 (sh42.1m) as a commercially competitive price when an autonomous center for vehicle and transport research is built. The University is now going to embark on a 30-seater SUV.