Science ministry denies claims that Kayoola solar buses were imported from China

The Kayoola EVS Bus by Kiira Motors Corporation
The Kayoola EVS Bus by Kiira Motors Corporation. COURTESY PHOTO

Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation has denied reports that the latest Kiira Motors Corporation (KMC) buses were imported from China and branded in Uganda.

The “Kayoola EVS” the latest prototype from Uganda’s lone car manufacturer generated excitement from a section of Ugandans when it was showcased in May. The buses are electric vehicles powered by solar energy obtained from solar panels on the surface of the vehicle.

However, several reports last week accused KMC of importing already made buses and re-branding them as models of KMC manufactured Kayoola buses.

While appearing before the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament on Friday 10th, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Science Technology David Obong was quick to deny the accusations. He pointed out that one of the buses was assembled by Ugandan engineers in China while the second bus was assembled in the country by the same engineers.

According to Obong, the engineers have been beneficiaries of technology development and transfer partnership with China.

Obong defended the record of KMC following a concern raised by the Bunyole west MP James Waluswaka who asked the ministry to clarify on the reports.

However, the committee chairperson Budadiri West MP Nandala Mafabi asked Obong to make it clear whether the buses are merely being assembled in Uganda or manufactured as is the expectation.

The undersecretary in the Ministry Emmanuel Fred Muganga argued before the committee that the buses are manufactured by Uganda since the design is a Ugandan innovation by Kiira Motors. He insisted that the crucial stage of any motor vehicle manufacturing is the design which is unique to Uganda.

He stated that the Kayoola was specifically designed for Ugandan cities by Ugandan engineers.

Muganga noted that even though most of the parts are imported, the molding of the bus body is done in the KMC plant in Nakasongola. He however acknowledged that the front part of the bus body is molded from China.

The Amudat Woman MP Mary Nauwat was full of praise for KMC. She told MPs that she had been pleased with the development and training of Ugandan engineers when she visited China as a member of the Science and Technology committee to tour the bus technology project and partnership with China.

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She noted that the six engineers who had been selected for training in China are now passing on their knowledge to other trainees at Nakasongola.

Obong invited the committee to visit KMC to learn more about the project right from its inception at Makerere University.

According to the Kiira motors website, the Kayoola EVS is a fully electric low floor bus specifically designed for urban mass transportation with a sitting capacity of up to 90 passengers.

At full charge, the Kayoola EVS has a range of up to 300 kilometres making it capable of handling the daily duty cycle.