The Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) has called upon the public and private institutions as well as individuals to consider shifting to electric vehicles and join the effort to beat air pollution. REMA made the call when taking delivery of its first electric vehicle that will be used to support the institution’s mandate of environmental protection. A charging station has also been installed at the environmental watchdog office in Kacyiru. The move is aimed to stimulate the demand of electric vehicles on the local market. “The acquisition of a Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) aims to demonstrate the potential of low emissions technologies and encourage public and private institutions as well as individuals to transition to electric vehicles,” said Juliet Kabera, Director General of the Rwanda Environment Management Authority. The Outlander PHEV can operate as an electric vehicle (EV) with a range of up to 54 kilometres using the electric motors alone. Charging the lithium-ion batteries uses 9.8kWh of electricity, which can take 30 minutes using a charger. “Vehicles powered by petrol and diesel contribute to climate change and pollute the air we breathe. Electric vehicles are part of the solution and we are now taking advantage of this emerging technology to mitigate air pollution and walk the talk on reducing emissions,” she said. According to the International Energy Agency, transportation is responsible for 24 per cent of global direct carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fuel combustion. Road vehicles – cars, trucks, buses and two- and three-wheelers – account for nearly three-quarters of transport CO2 emissions and are a leading contributor to climate change and air pollution, especially in cities. Globally, more than 90 per cent of us breathe polluted air and approximately seven million people die from air pollution related causes every year. The 2018 Inventory of Sources of Air Pollution in Rwanda showed that vehicle emissions are the leading cause of air pollution in Kigali and other urban areas. “Using electric vehicles in its daily work is, therefore, part of REMA’s long-term plan to contribute to Rwanda’s green growth,” added Kabera. Rwanda has a long-term goal to be a carbon neutral nation as articulated in its Vision 2050. In the short term, Rwanda aims to reduce emissions by 38% compared to business as usual by 2030 and electric vehicles are estimated to represent 9% of potential energy-related emissions mitigated under the country’s ten year climate action plan. “REMA is also mobilizing companies which supply electric vehicles to install more charging stations around the country, to facilitate institutions and individuals outside Kigali to acquire electric vehicles,” she noted. Vehicle owners, REMA said, are requested to have their vehicles serviced regularly and ensure their vehicles are inspected in a timely manner by the Rwanda National Police Motor Vehicle Inspection Centre. Drivers are also encouraged to switch off the engine when parked rather than idling, which produces dangerous pollution for pedestrians. The move in the next decade The e-mobility programme plans for the phased adoption of electric buses, passenger vehicles (cars) and motorocycles from 2020 onwards to in the process reducing conventional vehicle sales, transport fuel imports and associated gas emissions. Rwanda has 170,000 personal motor vehicles, increasing by 12% per year. According to Rwanda Green Fund (FONERWA) resources mobilization strategy to raise funds for implementing Rwanda’s ten year climate plan, over $1 billion is needed to convert 20 percent of personal motor vehicles to electric vehicles including supporting infrastructure, Rwanda has 1,500 buses, with more to be added for the Kigali Bus rapid transit (BRT) transport system and demand. The climate fund requires $150 million to convert 20 percent of buses into electric vehicles by 2030. In November, 2020, Serge Kamuhinda, CEO of Volkswagen Mobility Solutions Rwanda told The New Times that there has been a big jump of almost 200 per cent in terms of vehicle demand since they started. “Vehicle assembly is dependent on the vehicle demand. So this year (November 2020), we have had a very good demand. We are looking at assembling 400 vehicles against our target of 1000,” he said.