Kiira Motors Corporation or KMC is a State Enterprise in Uganda established to champion the Development of the Domestic Automotive Value Chain for job and wealth creation. The Equity Partners are Government of Uganda represented by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation holding 96% of the initial stock and Makerere University holding 4%.
KMC developed Africa’s first electric vehicle in 2011, Africa’s first hybrid vehicle in 2014 and Africa’s first solar electric bus in 2016.
The KMC journey dates back to 2007; evolving from an extra-curricular activity under the auspices of then Makerere University Faculty of Technology, to a university curricular activity and later a mainstream national initiative for automotive manufacturing. In 2007, a global consortium of over 31 universities and colleges across the world took part in a Vehicle Design Summit (VDS) to design and bring to market a 5-Seater plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, the Vision 200, targeting the Indian market. Under the United States-based Massachusetts Institute of Technology led three-year project, Uganda’s Makerere University was the only participant from Africa. The team from the Faculty of Technology now College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology was responsible for design and integration of the Low Power Electronics and Data Networking Systems. Given the experience in building the Vision 200, other global experiences through collaborations, and best practices benchmarking, the Makerere team resolved to embark on a project aimed at designing and building a vehicle in Uganda.
The Center for Research in Transport Technologies (CRTT) was then conceived under Makerere University in December 2008 and approved as part of the University Structures effective 1 January 2011. The strategic goal of CRTT was to advance research and innovation in transportation technologies on land, air and sea with specific emphasis on green mobility solutions for Africa. The Kiira EV Project was the first project implemented under CRTT. The Kiira EV, Africa’s first electric vehicle, was completed by the team and launched by H.E Yoweri Museveni, the President of the Republic of Uganda, on 24 November 2011. The successful execution of the Kiira EV Project led to the establishment of the Kiira Motors Project as a government initiative for Automotive Industry Development aimed at Establishing a Vehicle Plant in Uganda. The Kiira Motors Project started the Kiira Vehicle Technology Innovation Program through which the Kiira EV SMACK, the first Electric Hybrid Vehicle designed and built in Africa, was developed and unveiled at a very high-profile event at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi, Kenya in November 2014. The team then designed and built the Kayoola Solar Bus, the first Electric Solar Bus designed and built in Africa. The Kayoola Solar Bus was launched by H.E Yoweri Museveni on 16 February 2016 at the Kampala Serena Hotel.
Kiira Motors conducted a Pre-Investment Analysis (The KMC Business Case) to affirm the viability of vision Vehicles Made in Uganda. This informed the development of the Kiira Motors Corporation Business Strategy and subsequently Business Plan. The KMC Pre-Investment Analysis (Business Case) was launched by the Uganda Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda on 7 December 2015 at the President’s Office Conference Hall.
Cabinet of Uganda sitting on Monday 9 April 2018 at Statehouse Entebbe approved the roadmap for the Commercialization of the Kiira Electric Vehicle Project. This is to be undertaken in a phased manner with the market-entry point being assembly of vehicles (including electric vehicles) in partnership with reputable vehicle manufacturers. Cabinet approved a Seed Fund of US$ 40 Million (USh 143.7 Billion) over a period of four years starting in the Financial Year 2018/19 with an allocation of USh 24 Billion under the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation. The decision was facilitated by a comprehensive appraisal and approval of a Feasibility Study for Setting Up and Operating the Kiira Vehicle Plant by the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development. Cabinet also authorised the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation to put in place the necessary Institutional Framework for the Commercialization of the Kiira Electric Vehicle Project and mandated the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation to establish and oversee the project governance and management structures. The assembly plant is expected to have an installed capacity of 5,000 vehicles annually.
Kiira Vehicle Plant
The government of Uganda, acting through the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA), allocated 100 acres for the establishment of the Kiira Vehicle Plant, located at the Jinja Industrial and Business Park, Plot No. 701, Block 2 Kagogwa Village, Mawoito Parish, Kakira Town Council, Jinja District
Artistic Impression of the Kiira Vehicle Plant
Kiira Motors Corporation and National Enterprise Corporation (NEC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding for Construction of the Kiira Vehicle Plant Start-Up Facilities (Phase I) at the Jinja Industrial and Business Park based on the Force Account Mechanism provided for under Section 95(A) of the PPDA Act, 2003 (as amended). This was subsequent to clearance of the MOU by the Solicitor General. The Kiira Vehicle Plant Site was handed over to NEC on 18 January 2019, who deployed security and commenced work on 11 February 2019. Construction is expected to take two and a half (2.5) Years with completion slated for June 2021.
The Scope of Work for NEC includes: Site Clearance; Construction of a 3.6 kilometres (2 mi) perimeter fence and Two Gates; Excavation of a 1.4 km Open Channel along the Western Boundary; Construction of the Assembly Shop, Offices, R&D Space, Materials Storage Areas, Overhead Water Reservoir, Container Yards, Finished Vehicle Park Yard, and Plant Monument; Construction and Installation of Servicing Facilities including the Plant Campus Circulation Roads, Power Distribution, Water Distribution, I.T Network Backbone, Drainage and Waste (Water and Solid) Management Systems; and defects liability period shall be for 12 months commencing on the date of Practical Completion of the Project.
The construction and installation of a 3.7km long 33kV medium voltage electricity line connecting the Kiira Vehicle Plant Site to the national electricity grid was completed, tested and commissioned by Umeme. The construction and installation of a 5.4km long 6-inch water pipeline connecting the plant site to the municipal water supply system was completed, tested and commissioned by National Water and Sewerage Corporation.
Establishment of the Kiira Vehicle Plant is expected to catalyse investment by small and medium enterprises in the manufacture of vehicle parts, components and autonomy systems (Brake pads, seats, bolts and nuts, bumpers, vehicle electronics, navigation system, among others). Kiira Motors Corporation has developed a roadmap for the Domestic Manufacture of Auto-Parts in Uganda and secured accreditation from PPDA for an alternative system for procurement of Auto-Parts Suppliers providing for sample parts development and accreditation of the production part manufacturing system.
Establishment of the Kiira Vehicle Plant is projected to increase demand for the utilization of Uganda’s natural resources such as steel from iron ore deposits; plastics from oil and gas, lithium ion batteries from graphite, lithium and cobalt deposits, vehicle upholstery and interior padding from cotton and leather, glass from silica and sand among others
The Kiira Vehicle Plant’s contribution to employment in Uganda is estimated at 940 jobs from the Start-Up Investment. The full-scale plant operation is estimated to create over 2,000 direct jobs and 12,000 indirect jobs.
Kiira Motors Corporation shall address the mobility needs of the Target Market with a Product Offering including:
- Buses for Mass Mobility meeting the needs of the traveler who need not own a vehicle;
- Light and Medium Duty Trucks for transportation of goods (Construction Materials, Farm Produce, etc.);
- Utility Vehicles (SUVS and Pick-Ups) to address City and Off Road Utility Duty Cycle; and
- Executive Sedans such as the Kiira EVS Made-To-Order for the Niche Market Segment of High Profile Persons seeking Executive Mobility including for Car-Sharing Services.
The Kiira EVS, a Vehicle designed and Built by Kiira Motors Corporation, is a four-seater executive vehicle built off the Kiira EV SMACK platform. The Kiira EVS has undertaken a Nation-Wide Tour in excess of 3,650 kilometers in Eastern, Northern and Western Uganda with Exhibitions in Masaka, Mbarara, Kabale, Kisoro, Kibaale, Bushenyi, Jinja, Kampala, Pakwach, Nebbi, Arua, Koboko, Oraba, Gulu, Kitgum, Lira, Soroti, Katakwi, Moroto, Mbale, Iganga along with a grand expo at the Africa Now Summit 2019.
The Kiira EVS
KMC was recognized for the initiatives in Green Mobility by Frost & Sullivan with the prestigious 2016 Frost & Sullivan Visionary Innovation Leadership Award in Sustainable Mobility.