Rwanda has become the first African country to launch Volkswagen’s electric car, the e-Golf. The launch is part of a pilot project part led by Volkswagen and Siemens. The Moving Rwanda Initiative will use four e-Golfs and one charging station for the initial phase of the pilot project. Officials say that 16 additional cars will eventually join the market and there will be 15 charging stations spread out across Kigali.
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.
However, the cars are not available for sale to the public at the moment and will be under the custody of Volkswagen Rwanda during the pilot project.
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.
Michaella Rugwizangoga, the Chief Executive Officer of Volkswagen’s operations in Rwanda, said the cars are fully electric, not hybrid. She adds that the pilot project is part of Volkswagen’s global effort to phase out combustion engines in the next decade as the firm seeks greener alternatives.
A fully charged electric car can cover up to 230 kilometres in ideal conditions. However, the distance is subject to conditions such as altitude, terrain and gradient among other factors.