Monday February 17, 2020
Home Environment Rwanda Introd...

Rwanda Introduces Use of Electric Motorcycles as Part of Its Efforts to Protect Environment and Cut Fuel Costs

Passengers and motorcyclists say the electric vehicles could dramatically change how Rwandans do business

0
//
Rwanda, Electric, Motorcycles, Fuel
FILE - A passenger rides on a fuel-powered moto-taxi in Kigali, Rwanda, July 30, 2017. Rwanda is introducing electric motorcycles, with more than 600 being built for use in the country. VOA

Rwanda has introduced the use of electric motorcycles as part of its efforts to protect the environment and cut fuel costs.

Passengers and motorcyclists say the electric vehicles could dramatically change how Rwandans do business.

James Musisi, 45, is one of 10 motorcyclists who have started to use the motorcycles in what is known as the moto-taxi business — motorcycle taxis.

He says the vehicles are quiet, which means passengers are able to make phone calls as they’re taken to their destinations.

Rwanda, Electric, Motorcycles
FILE – Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame addresses a news conference in Kigali, Rwanda, April 8, 2019. VOA

They’re also relatively cheap. One electric bike costs $1,300 — less expensive than the $1,600 price for fuel motorcycles.

Also, Musisi said, “There is no chain, no drum brake, and requires less [maintenance compared to] those that use fuel lubricant every week and have to change the oil.”

Currently, there are 10 of the motorcycles running on Kigali’s roads, but more than 600 are being built.

Two charging stations exist in Kigali. A moto-taxi driver has to bring an exhausted battery to take a charged one, which runs for 70 kilometers (43 miles). The price for recharging an electric vehicle is equal to the cost of the fuel for traditional cycles.

Also Read- Amazon Wildfires Should be At Top of Group of Seven (G-7) Summit Agenda: French President

In 2016, four entrepreneurs from different countries formed a start-up called Ampersand with a mission to transform Rwanda into a mass market for commercial electric motorcycles.

Josh Whale, the company’s chief executive officer, said electric motorcycles, also known as e-Motos, have great potential in Rwanda — a country known for its environmental initiatives.

“For electricity, we found that the grid is sufficiently reliable in Kigali,” he said. “There has been a lot of investment made in new transmission lines, which are operating well, so everything is good for us.”

Environmental efforts

Rwanda, Electric, Motorcycles
Rwanda has introduced the use of electric motorcycles as part of its efforts to protect the environment and cut fuel costs. Pixabay

Engineer Colleta Ruhamya, director-general of Rwanda’s Environment Management Authority, says this is another milestone for the country, which has become an important player in the global environmental protection movement.

“I don’t see why Rwanda should be behind. I think it’s the right time for Rwanda to come forward. We call each and every person to also embrace [the effort] and to go [forward] together,” Ruhamya said.

This comes after Rwandan President Paul Kagame declared that his government is going to replace all motorcycles with new electric ones.

“We will find a way to replace the ones you have now. We urge taxi-moto operators to help us when the phase-out process comes,” Kagame said recently.

Also Read- Bose Adds Google Assistant to its Smart Speakers, Soundbars

The adoption of electric motorcycles follows many other initiatives the Rwandan government has taken to protect the environment and keep Kigali clean.

In 2008, Rwanda banned plastic shopping bags. Last year, it banned the use of single-use plastic materials, including water bottles.

According to the United Nations, every year 8 million tons of plastic end up in the world’s oceans, poisoning sea life and harming fisheries. (VOA)

Next Story

New Electric Car by Sony Leaves Car Makers Worried: Report

Why car makers should be afraid of Sony's electric car

0
Sony car
CES 2020 came in the form of a new concept car unveiled by the entertainment and tech giant Sony - a move that must make traditional car makers worried. (Representational Image). Pixabay

One of the biggest surprises at this year’s CES 2020 came in the form of a new concept car unveiled by the entertainment and tech giant Sony – a move that must make traditional car makers worried, says a new report.

According to data-driven market research company Cascend, the car was built by Sony’s internal AI and robotics team (who makes their robotic dog, Aibo) with (significant) engineering support from Austria-based automotive contract manufacturer Magna Steyr.

“With increasing sensors, displays, controllers and infotainment, vehicles are becoming more-and-more like electronics products,” said the report.

Sony already makes display and infotainment systems which are becoming much more important parts of the car and controls.

Sony_logo
Called the Sony Vision-S, the concept car is an electric concept sedan. Pixabay

Sony also makes high-res CMOS optical cameras and sensors, solid state lidar, radar and time-of-flight sensors — integrated into an advanced driver assistance system which Sony calls its ‘Safety Cocoon’,” the report added.

Called the Sony Vision-S, the concept car is an electric concept sedan.

It comes equipped with a phenomenal 33 different sensors both outside and inside the car, a widescreen display, 360 degree audio, and always-on connectivity, with some pieces coming from industry players like BlackBerry and Bosch.

Vision S is also powered by a “newly-designed EV platform” — engineered by automotive supplier Magna.

“Sony outsourced much of the “car stuff” from autoparts makers powered by an EV “platform” (supposedly engineered by auto supplier Magna) that Sony expects will be able to power other vehicles (like SUVs),” the report said.

Electric vehicles are a massive disruption in car-makers’ manufacturing processes. Their core technologies around combustion engines, drive trains, suspension and body design (over 100 years of development) aren’t particularly relevant.

Also Read- Tesla Cars Will Soon be Talking to Pedestrians, Hints Elon Musk

“And because of this, new EV companies (which aren’t traditional car makers) are springing up everywhere,” said the report.

China understands they can leapfrog traditional car makers (of which they have basically none) to become a powerhouse in EV and are investing heavily. (IANS)