In Africa: Uganda launches first solar-powered bus

Located on the equator and enjoying 6 to 8 hours of sunshine daily, Uganda has high hopes in renewable energy. And more particularly in solar energy.

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A few months after presenting the second concept of a unique vehicle, Kiira Motors Corporation, in association with the Makerere University unveiled in February, a prototype of a solar-powered bus.

With a length of nine meters, this vehicle named "Kayoola" allows you to carry on board 35 passengers, including the driver.

 

According to the designers, this model will eliminate the issues of a regular "black smoke" from a diesel bus. Thus, this model therefore uses a conventional heat engine, in place of a 100% electric unit to deliver 200 horsepower.

Solar energy as a 'range extender'

Strategically placed under the bus, two lithium-ion batteries allow Kayoola to have, between charges, 80km of travel power. The manufacturer's brochure also stipulates that will take only 80 minutes to recharge the device back to a 100% via a specific terminal.

play Roof Modeling of the solar Kayoola bus (Kayoola)

 

To reduce this charging time, and roll-out an even cleaner power, students and engineers had the idea to graft onto the roof of the bus 12 solar panels. Their total power generated from these will be between 50 and 130 watts. These panels are sort of "a range extender" by allowing the bus to go 12 km extra with solar.

Practically, the two battery groups share the work. Specifically, while the bus is moving, the panels on the roof convert solar energy into electricity. This current then charges the first battery bank. Meanwhile, the second provides the vehicle with the energy to allow it to continue to move forward.

7,000 hires in 2018?

Kiira Motors Corporation now has three models. Yet none of them available for sale. The company, owned 96% by the Ugandan government, currently serves as a showcase for neighboring countries to the extent of his action. In addition, the development of such models is expensive, due to the use of more expensive technologies.

The price of this solar bus prototype is valued at 130,000 euros. If they are able to mass-produce this model, Kiira Motors Corporation intends to sell the vehicle around 50,000 euros apiece. However, we have to be patient as it will take sometime before we see the bus Kayoola on Ugandan roads. 

At the inauguration of the test model, the company's leaders refused to indicate a launch date. They hope, that this project will generate employment in their country of origin.

By 2018, some 7,000 people could be hired to work on it.. The company officials however say that it will be in 2039...that their company is "able to manufacture all the parts and assemble the vehicle in Uganda." 



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Located on the equator and enjoying 6 to 8 hours of sunshine daily, Uganda has high hopes in renewable energy. And more particularly in solar energy.

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