Volkswagen begins tests-run of electric cars in Rwanda
London, Oct. 29, 2019 (AltAfrica)-Car maker Volkswagen has launched a pilot project in Rwanda to test the viability of electric cars in Africa, the New Times Rwanda newspaper reports.
The project is a partnership between Volkswagen and Siemens and will see four Volkswagen Golf model cars, dubbed e-Golf, rolled out in the Capital, Kigali.
The cars have capacity to cover approximately 230 kilometres (142 miles) when fully charged
Volkswagen has one charging station in its plant in Kigali, but 15 more stations will be set up by Siemens across the city, the newspaper reports.
#Happeningnow— @VOLKSWAGEN RWANDA (@VWRwanda) October 29, 2019
Official Launch of the first @VWGroup electric car in #Rwanda at the convention center.@VWSAnews @EnvironmentRw @GreenFundRw @SiemensAfrica @rbarwanda @MichaellaRu pic.twitter.com/u9pXAw3P50
While the Rwandan VW plant currently assembles three models in Kigali, the new electronic model will be produced in Germany and imported.
Siemens role in the partnership involves setting up charging stations.
Michaella Rugwizangoga, the Chief Executive Officer of Volkswagen’s operations in Rwanda, said the cars are fully electric, not hybrid.
Prior to today’s launch, Siemens, alongside the City of Kigali and Rwanda Energy Group, conducted an assessment of the city’s grid to establish whether it can support innovation.
They said that the findings showed that the city’s grid was adequate to support the charging stations at the launch and consequent phases of the pilot project.
In June this year, Rwanda Energy Group said that there not adequate demand for energy in Rwanda compared to production capacity and called for firms to consume more energy.
The pilot project will involve data collection and analysis on aspects such as performance of the electric cars, reception by consumers, consumer trends and suitable conditions for the cars.
Nadege Gaju, the Head of Sales and Marketing, said that it’s this data that will inform the consequent rollout of the project’s other phases.
The electric vehicles will be added to the firm’s fleet to operate under its Mobility Solutions initiative where activities include ride-hailing, corporate car sharing and rentals.
They will not be sold into the market at the moment and will be under the custody of Volkswagen Rwanda during the pilot project.
Rugwizangoga said that the pilot project is also part of the Volkwagen’s global ambitions of phasing out the combustion engines in the next decade as the firm seeks greener ambitions.