In an age of technological marvels, it may not be earth-stopping news that young engineers at Uganda’s Makerere University have made an electric car. But, as a university professor reminded me, this is big news for Uganda.
Last week, the College of Engineering Design, Art and Technology at Makerere conducted a 4km test-drive on its Kiira EV, a two-seater vehicle that runs on rechargeable lithium batteries instead of petrol. Its makers say that in motorway conditions, the Kiira EV can attain a speed of 100km/h and cover 80km (50 miles) before it needs recharging.
Although the technology has been around for decades, this is the first time anyone in Uganda has been able to part-assemble and part-manufacture a purely electric car, conspicuously green in colour to symbolise its environmental credentials.