As the Technological University of Choice, we pride ourselves on technology, innovation and academic excellence. IUEA in partnership with the Clean Air Initiative Africa and with support from the United Nations proudly launched its first set of electric motorbikes on 16/03/2021.
Events of the day started at 10 am as the various invited dignitaries and media personnel made their way into the IUEA premises. Among the guests were notably the Director of Science, Research and Innovation at the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation Dr. Maxwell Otim Onapa, IUEA University Council Chairman and Tropical Bank Chairman Amb. Moses Kiwe Sebunya, the Hon. Councilor of Kansanga Mr. Luba Charles, Ms. Gloria Namande representing the United Nations Environment programme, and the Managing Director Nissan Motor Care Mrs. Florence Makanda.
Minutes into arrival, the guests were guided on to a brief tour by the IUEA Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Emeka Akaezuwa, who introduced the project from its inception in 2018 to date. He elaborated on all the key aspects and functionalities of the motorbikes along with their competitive advantage.
“The project will lead the country to shift the motorcycle fleet to electric so that by 2022, at least 30% of new sales will be electric motorcycles with a long term target of a complete switch over to the electric motorcycle. At this point, savings will be at least three million tones of carbon dioxide per year. The project is using lessons from China where more than 250 million electric bikes have been introduced and where petrol motorbikes have been phased out in favour of electric versions in their major cities.”-Dr. Emeka Akaezuwa
After a series of test rides, the guests specifically pointed out how comfortable the motorbikes were and were in awe of the fact that the motorbikes did not emit any smoke or produced sound while in motion. After the test rides, the various guests were guided to the gardens where the event started officially.
The event started with words of prayer by two representatives from the Christian and Islamic faiths.
The Nissan Motorcare Managing Director Mrs. Florence Makanda, a guest, expressed her elation about the initiative. She brought it forward as part of Nissan’s various corporate responsibility activities; they have made efforts to improve the air quality. She said she was glad to work with the International University of East Africa and any organisation doing the same.
Dr. Emeka, said “Will facilitate a shift to electric motorcycles for Uganda awareness-raising, policy reforms, fiscal incentives, communication activities and creating an enabling environment for local manufacturing of electric motorcycles
Dr. Emeka added “Motorcycles are considered the low hanging fruit of electric mobility, and thus, priority to moving to electric mobility, because they provide net carbon benefits, regardless of the “upstream” electricity-carbon mix. These are a key solution in addressing urban pollution.
“This will result in at least 900,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide saved in a seven-year project. The projected carbon-dioxide savings for the first fleet turnover after the project (7 years) is at least 6.3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. He said
Dr. Emeka in the conclusion of his speech invited Dr. Maxwell Otim Onapa who noted various key points on how the innovation of electric mobility would help Uganda. Among these was the ability of the bikes creating a new trend of air cleaning by use of clean energy as compared to fossil energy. He also highlighted the benefits to the economy due to the reduced cost of public transportation through the cost-effective nature of the electric motorcycles. He concluded that there are various opportunity windows for innovation facilitation by the Ministry and urges IUEA to get involved in this funds acquisition.
As one of the events of the day, “boda boda” riders from the IUEA stage were welcomed for test rides around the neighbourhood. In a pack, they drove all the way through Kansanga, Bunga, Ggaba to Munyonyo and back. The act gathered crowds by the roadside who couldn’t help but cheer on the riders. After the rides, the boda boda riders expressed immense joy and sentiments on the comfort and responsiveness of the motorbikes. They were also taken back by the fact they had covered quite a distance but the motorbikes were still powered. They further urged the university to produce more motorbikes for purchase.
In the conclusion of the day’s events was one of our talented students Tasha, a second-year student from the faculty of Science and Technology who gave us a taste of her creative piece ”Asante”. A song she composed for IUEA.
Facts about the IUEA electric motorcycle
- The motorcycles use electric power and a charge of 2,500 can go for a distance of 70km. This is equivalent to over 2 litres of fuel estimated at 8,000 UGX which is more expensive.
- No sound produced while riding
The university already has 50 motorcycles and plans to have 10,000 and more motorcycles to supply Uganda, as well as the East African region. The project has been made possible with the support of various stakeholders.
By: IUEA Connect