Electric automaker Kiira Motors seeks cut in power tariffs

Saturday September 16 2023

The first prototype of Kiira Motors green mobility solution on view in Nakasongola Air Base, Uganda on November 16, 2019. PHOTO | FELIX MIRINGU | NMG


Uganda’s electric car manufacturer Kiira Motors Corporation is seeking government intervention to reduce the cost of electricity at charging spots as it gears up for full scale vehicle production.

“What we are requesting the regulatory body is to give us a standard electricity tariff for these charging spots, which is lower to encourage the use of electric vehicles across the country,” said Kiira’s Richard Madanda.

Uganda's Electricity Regulation Authority has put electricity consumers in four categories: domestic, commercial, medium industrial, large and extra-large consumers. The regulator also has separate rate for street lighting.

Read: Uganda, Rwanda lead EA in switch to electric cars

Current tariffs for domestic consumers are Ush805 ($0.21) per unit, Ush611 ($0.16) for commercial consumers, Ush461 ($0.12 for medium industrial consumers and Ush384 ($0.10) for large consumers. Extra-large consumers – including big factories like Kiira Motors – are charged Ush325 ($0.08) per unit while street lighting consumer category is billed at Ush370 ($0.09).

Kiira Motors is suggesting Ush270 ($0.07) per unit for all charging points.


“Our buses for example would need about 300 units to cover a distance of 300 kilometres,” Madanda said.

If charged at the domestic power tariff, consumers would need about Ush240,000 ($64.52) for a distance of 300 kilometres. The same amount of money would buy about 48 litres of petrol, which could take a small vehicle for more than 500 kilometres.

Currently, the company has set up three charging systems in Nakasongola, Kampala and at their plant in Jinja. Nine more points are expected to be put up between Kampala and Jinja in the next two months.

While Uganda is pushing for e-mobility, it still faces limited energy access, high energy costs and power outages as principal barriers. Large-scale EV fleets would place substantial pressure on the existing electricity grid.

Read: Uganda's Kiira Motors in race against time

It is this lack of infrastructure and supplier capacity that is largely constraining the demand for e-mobility in Uganda.

According to sector players, private enterprises, therefore, must provide a wide range of e-mobility services, which can be resource and capital intensive.

At the global scale, electric vehicles (EVs) have the potential to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, and improve public health, accessibility and economic development.

There is a plan Government of Uganda to introduce a fleet of 980 buses in Kampala, through a partnership between India’s Ashok Leyland and Kiira Motors Corporation under their long-term technology partnership to build capabilities to Develop, Make, and Sell motor vehicles and components in Africa.