Electric cars to Rwanda, Volkswagen brings first
Known as the eGolf, the vehicle, imported by global carmaker Volkswagen, will be used for the company’s local ride-hailing service.
VW, which has a global target of producing 600,000 electric cars a year by 2022, is starting small in Kigali, importing 50 eGolf models over the next few months.
“Probably in the next 5-6 years electric car prices will come down dramatically and traditional cars will actually get more expensive, because now you need higher engine cleaning facilities and everything,” said head of Volkswagen sub-saharan region, Thomas Schaefer.
“When those two curves cut, when electric cars become cheaper, and they have the same range like a traditional car and you can charge them overnight and you do not have to go a petrol station for it, and then you must drive…driving is really fun, ah? So when that happens there will be a complete switch I guarantee you.”
Unlike many African countries, Rwandan electricity is relatively reliable.
15 charging stations built by Siemens will be available in Kigali to charge the electric cars.
Up to 80 per cent of the battery can be charged within an hour at a station.
Rwandan President Edouard Ngirente was at the launch.
“E-mobility presents a great opportunity to substitute expensive fuel imports, with electricity generated in the country,” said Ngirente. “In 2018 fuel products were the largest single imports product category into Rwanda accounting for 12 per cent of all imported of goods. Rwandans are becoming increasingly aware that protecting environment is a top priority.”
While VW acknowledged the high price of electric cars would not appeal to most African consumers, it’s hopeful scaling up production and favorable government policy will help bring prices down