Rwanda is set to be the first in Africa to introduce Volkswagen’s electric car, the e-Golf. It is quickly sealing its position in Africa as a preferable destination for technological advancement. Volkswagen is one of the world’s ten leading manufacturers of electric vehicles.
For Rwanda, getting fuel comes at a price. The fuel is imported from the Middle East and passes through Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. It is a stretch of nearly 3,000 km. This has made VW move to launch their electric cars in Rwanda. The electric car will be known as the e-Golf. VW will be introduced on 29 October 2019 at the Kigali Convention Centre.
According to Andrew Kirby, only 66 electric vehicles were sold last year. Kirby is President and CEO of Toyota South Africa Motors. It was close to zero in the rest of the continent. This made Volkswagen look towards Rwanda as their next destination for this ambitious investment. The move was bolstered by what they termed the mental readiness of Rwandans to embrace electric cars.
Rwanda is ready to go electric
Thomas Schaefer, the chairperson and managing director of VWSA, said this in February: “We did a grid check-in Rwanda together with GRZ (Technologies) and Siemens last year and they are ready. They already get their electricity from 70 percent renewable energy. That will change to 100 percent in the next 10 years.
“They are tracking their fuel from the Middle East to Dar es Salaam. Then 3000 km by road into Kigali. What for? They could immediately go electric.”
It is this perspective that has necessitated and actuated the introduction of electric cars in Rwanda. It is a market that they hope to get the best and the maximum from. They are ready to make it work. Thomas Schaefer argued that importing fuel hampers Rwanda’s foreign exchange reserves. As a result, the only way to mitigate this is through the use of electric cars.
The biggest advantage of using electric cars is how they are friendly to all of the ecological system. For this to be the case, renewable energy is supposed to be harnessed. This means that an electric car must be charged with renewable energy. The energy would be coming from the wind, sun, hydro and biomass.
VolksWagen’s exploring the verticals of e-vehicles
The VW electric cars are also a vital part of their ride-hailing plans. Their ride-service app, “Move” now has over 23,000 registered users in Kigali. Only around 2,200 are active users. For VW, this is still pretty much of an experiment.
VW is taking on all paths in making solid investments in Rwanda. These include new car sales, ride-hailing, car-sharing, used car sales, parts, and service. It hopes its investment can be spread to other African countries.
New car sales for Africa is an important development so as to discourage the culture of second-hand cars.