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Center for Research in Transportation Technologies

The Vehicle Design Project is an innovative research project aimed at applying contemporary technologies   to develop sustainable transportation solutions for Uganda and Africa. The Project was inspired by the Vehicle Design Summit (VDS), an International Student-Led Consortium aimed at Leapfrogging Sustainable Transportation Technologies. In 2008, Vehicle Design Summit (VDS) Teams from 35 Pre-eminent Research Universities built a 5 seater Plug in Hybrid Electric Vehicle, The Vision 200 Led by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).  Makerere University, the only African team, developed the Power Train and in-Vehicle Communication Network for the Vision 200.

The vision of the project is to be at the forefront of research and development of green transport technologies in Africa, while its mission is to carry out research aimed at development of cost effective and environmentally friendly transportation technologies for Africa. The Tactical Objective, on the other hand, is to build from scratch a 2-seater Electric Vehicle code-named Kiira as proof of concept, while the strategic objectives are; development of Hybrid Public transport Vehicle-(Omni-bus), and establishment of Centre of Excellence in Transportation Research.

The project is currently headed by Prof. Tickodri Togboa Sande (Deputy Principal, CEDAT) assisted by Mr. Paul Isaac Musasizi (Lecturer) and Mr. Dominic Semukuttu (Lecturer).

Its backbone research is undertaken by a group of undergraduate students and its current membership is ; Richard Madanda ELE IV (Dealing with power electronics), Gyagenda Nasser MEC IV (Dealing with vehicle mechanics), Gerald Baguma TEL IV , Diana Kagimba TEL III and Patricia Atungire TEL IV( Dealing with control and data communication)

Logo Development

The kiira vehicle flag has been developed taking inspiration from the name “kiira” which is a a waterful .  The kiira vehicle is purely electric and  “zero emission “  vehicle and therefore a green means of transport.



Conceptual Vehicle Model Design.

Using  current automobile design techniques, the team has been able to develop  the conceptual model from hand sketches to CAD models through various design iterations.  The model design has evolved due to concerns of aerodynamic efficiency .The models below show the evolution of the Conceptual Vehicle model.

Physical  model

Before the actual implementation of the body, a 1: 1 model was developed with the aim of obtaining some information about the design parameters before fabrication; vital information was obtained about  the Ground clearance, wheel base, vehicle height and length. The model was initially to be developed out of styrofoam but due to absence of the material on the local market in bulk, the model was developed using wires, cardboard and wood.


Structural fabrication of Chassis and Frame

The fabrication and Construction of the mechanical Systems of the Kiira EV started at the CEDAT fabrication workshop using locally available materials. The systems include; the chassis, frame, Suspension system and Battery compartment. The chassis was initially to be fabricated using extrusion technology from aluminium alloy but due to absence of the material on the local market locally available steel was used for the fabrication.

Kiira EV Complete

The electric car made by the Makerere University Vehicle Design Project, was finished and was taken for its first test-drive on Tuesday 1st November 2011. The test-drive was successful and attracted alot of local and international attention. The Kiira EV will be officially unveiled at the 2nd Annual Students’ Open day on the 18th -19 Nov 2010, College of Engineering Art and Design – CEDAT. The car has been painted green to emphasize its environment friendly aspects. Green is also one of the Makerere colours. This car has zero emissions, since it is electric and comes as an alternative transport solution totally dependent on green energy. Its battery power lasts 80km, and takes about 5.5 hours to recharge using a single phase charger with 13A/220V.

Kiira EV Design Specifications

Vehicle Parameter Value
Number of Doors 3
Seating Capacity 2
Length 3000 mm
Width 1600 mm
Height 15000 mm
Interior Colour Cream
Exterior Colour Green
Top Speed 100 Km/hr
Wheel Base 2175 mm
Ground Clearance 200 mm
Dry Weight 1000 Kg
Motor Type Induction Motor
Motor Power 20kW/26 Hp
Maximum Power 47 kw/62 Hp
Maximum Battery Voltage fully charged 256 V
Battery Voltage fully discharged 180 V
Maximum Theoritical Speed 100 Km/hr
Range 80 Km
Charging time at 13 A 240 V 5 Hours
Power Consumed Per Charge 15.6 kWh
Cost of Charging (UGX 385 Per  Unit) 6000 UGX
Maximum  motor Speed 10,000 rpm




















Find more details on the production process andspecifications of the Kiira EV here

Find more pictures and videos of the Kiira EV here.

The Future

In the follow up to the Kiira EV, the Vehicle Design Project team intends to design and fabricate a 28-seater commuter electric vehicle KAYOOLA a Green Public Transport Solution tailored for Kampala City .

The project is  also working toward the establishing of Transportation Technology Knowledge Bureau, code named the Centre for Research in Transportation Technologies (CRTT).

The design and Development of other systems including the power train, Body electronics, Communication Network and Transmission system is complete and procurement of the relevant fabrication tools for these systems is ongoing. The final body and interior designs will be implemented using fiber glass material which is locally available.
The vehicle design project strategically aims to establish a centre of research in transport technologies to develop solutions to local transport needs including road , water, air and rail for public transport , agricultural and industrial needs.

For more information about the Vehicle Design Project, please visit us on our website: crtt.mak.ac.ug


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