A bus powered by the sun’s energy has made its public debut.
Kiira Motors Corporation demonstrated the new electric bus recently at a sports center in the Ugandan capital, Kampala. Company officials claim it is the first solar-powered bus in Africa.
Kiira Motors is calling the new vehicle, Kayoola. It has solar panels on top and seats for 35 passengers. The company hopes the Kayoola will become the first public buses in Africa to operate on solar power.
Mario Obuwa was the chief engineer of the project. He says the buses’ engines are completely silent.
“With this bus, there’s actually no engine. What is driving the bus is a motor, a traction motor, which is being run by a battery. And the battery banks are the ones that are linked to the solar system that’s on the roof. So we have the batteries that are driving the motor and that gives us a full range of 80 kilometers on full charge. And then the solar panels come in to supplement the extra mileage, so it adds an extra twelve kilometers to the total.”
The Kayoola bus can be recharged with solar power or by connecting to an electric power source. Best of all, it does not release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Studies have linked the gas to rising temperatures on Earth’s surface.
Obuwa says the solar-powered buses will cut down on pollution. He thinks they will also help save money on fuel by depending 100% on sunlight.
While the Kayoola bus operates on battery power, its engineers say that it is just as powerful as a normal bus.
Ugandan officials like the idea of solar-powered buses. They believe that such vehicles could help solve Kampala's traffic problems because it will give people more choices.
The prototype model of the Kayoola shown to reporters in Kampala had an estimated cost of more than $140,000. If this model can be mass produced, the price will drop, and it will sell for around $55,000 each.
Kiira Motors has yet to say when it will begin selling the Kayoola bus.
I’m Mehrnoush Karimian-Ainsworth.
Words in This Story
debut – n. the first appearance of a product, sport, event, etc.
solar – adj. of or related to the sun
traction – n. the power that is used to pull something
battery – n. a device that is placed inside and machine to supply it with electricity
range – n. the distance of something, from place to place
supplement – n. something that is added to something else in order to make it complete
recharged – v. to refill (a battery) with electricity
source – n. someone or something that provides what is needed
prototype – n. an original or first model of something from which other forms are copied or developed