German carmaker Volkswagen (VW) has unveiled its first electric cars in Sub-Saharan Africa in Rwanda. The launch of the e-Golf Tuesday was in partnership with German technology giant Siemens, making Rwanda the first Sub-Saharan African country where Volkswagen is testing electric cars.
The launch was the introduction of four e-Golf on the Rwandan market with one charging station at the Volkswagen facility at the Special Economic Zone.
More cars will join on the market in the coming months to bring the number to about 20 and 15 charging stations across Kigali, Rwanda’s capital, reports The New Times.
The e-Golf will be manufactured and imported from Germany even though Volkswagen has a plant in Rwanda that assembles three models.
“We’ve been investing more than $30 billion into new electric vehicles and platforms and the entire world is moving in that direction,” VW’s Africa boss Thomas Schaefer said.
“The plan for Africa is that ultimately, we replace the whole fleet into electric.”
The Chief Executive Officer of Volkswagen’s operations in Rwanda, Michaella Rugwizangoga, said the pilot project was part of the Volkwagen’s global ambitions of phasing out the combustion engines in the next decade as the firm seeks greener ambitions.
“The success of our innovative and pioneering mobility solutions business has shown us that Rwanda has the potential to leapfrog the internal combustion engines into electric cars. 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,” Schäfer said.
Sabine Dall’Omo, CEO for Siemens Southern and Eastern Africa said: “Our partnership with Volkswagen on this project solidifies our commitment not only to Rwanda but to the East Africa region. By contributing towards shaping the African market for intelligent, adaptive infrastructure, while addressing skills challenges in this sector, Siemens is helping to build a more sustainable future for the people of Rwanda.”
The pilot e-Golfs will be added into the Volkswagen Mobility Solutions Rwanda fleet to provide customized mobility service.
The drivers and technicians who will be working with the electric cars have received specialized training in preparation for the launch of the pilot project.
The electric mobility project was developed within the Moving Rwanda initiative, a cooperation between Volkswagen, Siemens, SAP, and Inros Lackner and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. GIZ supported the e-mobility project by bringing together relevant partners from the private and public sectors and by advising on the development benefits of the project.
The Moving Rwanda Initiative was established as the result of Volkswagen’s initial investment in Rwanda, which saw the launch of Africa’s first Integrated Mobility Solutions business in June 2018.
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 innovative IT mobility solution that was developed by a local IT start-up company, Awesomity Lab.
“The integrated mobility solutions business in Rwanda is our lighthouse project. In the past year, our operations in Kigali have provided us with valuable lessons and business intelligence which we plan to utilize in our growth strategy into other African markets like Ghana and Ethiopia,” Schäfer said.