The city of Kigali on Monday started a trial phase of using electric buses in public transport following a similar trial on mini buses that are privately owned.
The electric buses have been introduced into the market by BasiGo, a Kenyan based company , in partnership with AC Mobility.
At least two of the four planned buses that will be used in this program arrived in Rwanda in November 2023.
BasiGo says that “they have been undergoing basic tests for a few days so that they are ready to enter the passenger transport system”.
BasiGo said that the purpose of putting these buses on the roads is to test their technical capabilities, how they drive on the streets of Kigali, in order to determine the plan to start using them or rent them out.
In this pilot, BasiGo says they plan work with the usual transport companies in Kigali, including Kigali Bus Service (KBS), Royal Express and Volcano Express.
BasiGo plans to introduce 200 buses on the streets of Kigali, within 18 months after the end of this trial period, a move that could resolve ongoing passenger’s travel woes in Kigali city where most spend long hours in queues waiting for buses especially in the morning and evening rush hours.
The successful implementation of this project will see BasiGo start to rent these buses to companies that are already in this bus transport business and the cost of renting will comprise charging, maintenance and other costs.
The buses that will be used in this project are 10.5 meters long and have the capacity to carry 70 passengers.
When their batteries are fully charged they are capable of traveling 300 kilometers without needing to be recharged- meaning they can travel a longer journey than the one from Kigali to Rusizi.
Due to the high capacity of the batteries of these buses, special ‘180 kW DC’ chargers will be used. This will be in collaboration with the Rwanda Energy Group (REG), the charging points have been installed at Rwandex in Kicukiro District in Kigali.
BasiGo said it is set to revolutionize Green Growth public transportation in Rwanda by providing affordable electric buses that offer an alternative to gasoline-powered buses.
“This goal is in the line of the Government to create a sustainable infrastructure in terms of public transportation and to facilitate everyone to use public transportation,” BasiGo said.
Last week, BasiGo received a $5 million debt facility from a UK investor to ramp up local assembling of electric buses, in what is expected to cement its position as a leader in the clean mobility shift in public transport in the region.