What you need to know about project to introduce electric buses in Kigali

By Esther Muhozi
On 11 December 2023 at 09:30

Today, Kigali City will see the launch of a groundbreaking public transport program featuring fully electric buses—the first of their kind to undergo testing in the country.

Brought to Rwanda by the electric bus company BasiGo, headquartered in Kenya, the buses were introduced in collaboration with AC Mobility, which incorporates Tap & Go technology for seamless bus fare payments through advanced technology.

Some of these buses arrived in Rwanda in November 2023 and, according to BasiGo, have undergone preliminary testing to ensure their readiness for integration into the passenger transport system.

Initially, two out of the four electric buses designated for the trial program were delivered to Kigali. These buses, provided by BasiGo, are set to hit the roads, marking the commencement of passenger transportation.

The objective, as stated by BasiGo, is to assess the buses’ technical capabilities and performance on Kigali streets, with plans to incorporate them into the existing business model of renting out buses.

Collaborating with established transport companies in Kigali, including Kigali Bus Service (KBS), Royal Express, and Volcano, BasiGo aims to conduct a thorough evaluation during this trial period. Post-experiment, there are ambitious plans to deploy 200 electric buses on Kigali streets within 18 months, presenting a comprehensive solution to the city’s persisting transportation challenges.

The cost structure for renting these buses includes fuel, maintenance, and other associated expenses. With a length of 10.5 meters, the buses boast a seating capacity for 70 passengers.

Notably, their fully charged batteries enable a travel distance of 300 kilometers without requiring recharging, surpassing the distance from Kigali to Rusizi. This extended range enhances operational efficiency within Kigali, facilitating more trips without complications.

Given the substantial battery capacity, specialized ’180 kW DC’ chargers have been installed at Rwandex in Kicukiro District, a collaborative effort between BasiGo and the Rwanda Energy Group (REG).

BasiGo envisions revolutionizing public transportation in Rwanda by providing affordable electric buses as an eco-friendly alternative to traditional gasoline-powered buses. This initiative aligns with the government’s commitment to creating a sustainable infrastructure for public transportation, promoting accessibility for all. ’180 kW DC’ chargers

As a financial boost, BasiGo received €30,000 towards the end of the week to further support the project’s implementation. The official launch of public operations using these electric buses is scheduled for Monday, at Downtown.