French minister unveils electric cars in Tanzania

Wednesday October 20 2021
Electric pic
By Alex Nelson Malanga

Dar es Salaam. French Minister for Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness Franck Riester yesterday officially launched the environmentally-friendly electric cars created by E-Motion Africa.

E-Motion Africa was created in 2019 with the aim of providing an original and simple solution to the challenge of decarbonizing transport in Tanzania and proposes to convert the diesel engine of safari vehicles into an electric motor, powered by energy photovoltaic.

“There is no gas emission. It is really vehicle for the future,” noted the minister.

He said the creation of E-Motion Africa is the result of a partnership between four companies with expertise in their field (Hanspaul Group, a manufacturer of safari cars, Gadgetronix, a builder of solar farms, Akuo, and Carwatt).

“We are committed to promoting partnership and sharing technology with Tanzania,” said Mr Riester.

The project was initiated by the French safari company Mount Kilimanjaro Safari Club (MKSC) which has been operating for twenty years in the north of the country in national parks.

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The company launched its first two electric cars in 2018 taking advantage of used Toyota car recycling (deployed in Serengeti National Park and Mkomazi National Park, the Rhino Sanctuary) and since then the company has 9 electric cars at three different locations and a garage in Arusha.

“The objective is to give a second life to vehicles and to use Renault recharging batteries (those which are no longer suitable for European cars) a second life, and to equip all safari vehicles,” said Mr Riester.

This in turn, he added, would allow a silent movement, more respectful of the fauna in the parks, which is doubly respectful of the environment.

In addition, E-Motion Africa has partnered with Arusha Technical College by including it in its board of trustees and offering graduate students the opportunity to join the company.

MKSC managing director George Ole Meing’arrai said from economic, social and environmental point of view, the benefits of the project will be significant and could also be extended to other forms of mobility (buses, taxis, safari cars and private vehicles).

If the e-car battery is fully charged, he said, it could cover a distance of between 130-150km.

The battery, according to him could be charged in between three and 12 hours depending on the type.

He said currently one could charge the battery using home electricity.

However, if demand went high in future, Mr Meing’arrai said they would consider setting up various filling stations in the country.

He revealed that the costs for converting a diesel engine vehicle into electric motor stood at between $42,000 and $43,000.

Official data have it that in 2030, nearly 1.4 million batteries will need to be recycled.

With E-Motion Africa, Tanzania’s tourist attractiveness will be considerably enhanced as it will be the first country in Africa to use electric cars on all of its safaris, according to a part of statement availed to The Citizen.

Vehicle maintenance costs will be greatly reduced by converting vehicles to electric.

The experience observed on retrofit safari vehicles in the private sector suggests savings of nearly $5,000 per year per vehicle (more oil, filter, brake pads, battery change, etc.)