Officials at the Kiira Motors cooperation (KMC) have said Ugandan manufacturers and suppliers should take the opportunity to contribute in the chain of vehicle manufacture.
KMC, the designers of the concept vehicle Kiira EV,EV Smack and Kayoola Solar bus say that although right now they are at the prototyping and validation stage, several components of the three concept vehicles are still imported, but private manufacturers and supplies could seize the existing opportunity.
Allan Muhumuza, the Business Development Manager Kiira Motors says they sourced raw materials locally from Uganda like the frame of the vehicle, the body of the car, interior of the vehicles including leather, and most importantly the engineering or human capital that went into the car, but a lot more opportunity still exists for Ugandans.
He gave an example of Uganda's hides and skins that can be used for the car seats, companies producing plastics can come in to support plastic aspects like lights, and also rubber parts among others.
Muhumuza says their target is to have an efficient automatic value chain in which Ugandans work as partners with the cooperation which uses a specific design and standards.
He says the purpose of partnering will be to engage more Ugandans to meet the quality requirements for manufacturing vehicles, but also to bring in more players and interests in the automotive sector.
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The Kiira EVs are prototypes that are being used to validate designs, the market for the vehicles and the production process. The prototypes also enable the manufacturers know which kind of human resources, space needed, technologies to incorporate among others.
Although Government had announced that Uganda would start manufacturing its cars in 2018, the manufacturers say they are currently delayed by the construction of the automotive plant in Jinja district which has kicked off this year at a cost of 143 billion shillings.
Government recently announced a new manufacturing year of 2020.
One of the vehicles, KIIRA EV SMACK for instance is a 5-seater front-wheel drive sedan with a traction motor powered by a rechargeable battery bank and an internal combustion engine-based generator. It is the first Electric Hybrid Vehicle designed and built in Africa according to the corporation.