Volkswagen launches pilot electric mobility project in Rwanda
CREAMER MEDIA SENIOR DEPUTY EDITOR
Volkswagen has launched a pilot project, in partnership with Siemens, to test the feasibility of electric mobility in Africa.
The pilot project, which will form part of the German car maker’s operations in Rwanda, was announced by Volkswagen Group South Africa CEO Thomas Schäfer, who is also responsible for the sub-Saharan Africa region.
During the pilot phase, four e-Golfs and one charging station will be introduced in the Rwandan capital of Kigali.
Siemens will provide the charging infrastructure for the electric vehicles (EVs).
With the launch of the pilot project, Rwanda becomes the first African country to introduce a Volkswagen electric car.
“The success of our innovative and pioneering mobility solutions business has shown us that Rwanda has the potential to leapfrog the internal combustion engine into electric cars,” says Schäfer.
“Rwanda has a young and progressive population that appreciates individual and modern mobility. Together with our development partner Siemens, and with the support from the government of Rwanda, Volkswagen wants to make the e-Golf pilot project in Rwanda a blueprint for electric mobility in Africa.”
The plan is to increase the number of EVs to 50 units and the charging stations to 15 locations, depending on the outcome of the pilot project.
The drivers and technicians who will be working with the EVs have received specialised training in preparation for the pilot project.
The electric mobility project was developed within the Moving Rwanda Initiative, which is a joint programme between Volkswagen, Siemens, SAP, construction group Inros Lackner and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).
GIZ supported the e-mobility project by bringing together relevant partners from the private and public sector and by advising on the developmental benefits of the project.
The Moving Rwanda Initiative was established after Volkswagen’s initial investment in Rwanda, which saw the launch of the country’s first integrated mobility solutions business in June, last year.
Volkswagen Mobility Solutions Rwanda offers mobility solutions services, such as ride-hailing and corporate car sharing.
The services are offered on the Move App, an IT mobility solution which was developed by a local IT start-up company, Awesomity Lab.
The services are offered using a fleet of vehicles assembled at Volkswagen Rwanda’s assembly facility, in Kigali.
By the end of 2019, Volkswagen Mobility Solutions Rwanda will have a fleet of more than 200 vehicles consisting of Polo, Amarok, Teramont and Passat vehicles.
Move App has about 27 000 registered users. More than 59 500 rides have been completed on the ride-hailing service since the beginning of this year.
“The integrated mobility solutions business in Rwanda is our lighthouse project,” notes Schäfer.
“In the past year, our operations in Kigali have provided us with valuable lessons and business intelligence, which we plan to utilise in our growth strategy into other African markets, like Ghana and Ethiopia.”