Varsity students unveil electric motorcycles

Wednesday March 17 2021
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Guests and students of International University of East Africa pose with the electric motorcycles at the main campus at Kansanga in Kampala on March 16, 2021. PHOTO/STEPHEN OTAGE

By Stephen Otage

The International University for East Africa (IUEA) has created 50 electric motorcycles in a bid to curb environmental pollution in the country. 

While unveiling the motorcycles at the campus at Kansanga in Kampala yesterday, Mr Hassan Alwi, the university proprietor, said the motorcycles are a result of a research project under the university’s Bachelor of Science and Technology programme to improve life of batteries currently used in motorcycles in Uganda.

He also said they were preparing to set up a local factory to manufacture the electric motorcycles.
“These motorcycles are tailor-made from China. They are not the common bikes from the showroom in China. They are stronger, can carry heavy weight and were developed from a concept of solving problems using technology,” he said.
Mr Alwi also said when they asked their engineering students which local problems they could solve using technology, they identified pollution. 

He said the current motorcycles and old vehicles pollute the environment because they are powered by two-stroke engines, which burn fuel fast and grow old faster. 
The motorcycle with a fitted battery is fixed to a power source and is charged for about four to five hours. Upon full charging, the motorcycle can run up to 80km before it requires recharging.       
Mr Alwi said they are doing further research on how they can increase the battery’s power retention to run up to 150km before the next charging.  

Dr Emeka Akaezuwa, the university’s vice chancellor, said in 2018, the United Nations Environmental Programme and Electric Mobility Uganda, picked interest and started supporting the project because it is aligned with the sustainable development goal on use of clean energy.
Dr Maxwell Otim Onapa, the director of science research and innovations at the Ministry of Science and Technology, thanked the university for the initiative. 

“Developed countries are getting rid of using fossil fuel in transport systems.  I believe very soon, we shall be using electric vehicles and production of vehicles running on fossil fuels will go down,” he said.
The university also revealed that the United Nations Development Programme gave them up to the end of 2022 to reduce importation of motorcycles for boda boda service in Uganda by 30 per cent.