Inventions and Innovations in the African Automotive Industry

The next car you buy in Africa might just be one conceived, designed and manufactured in Africa. Leading the pack in innovation is Kantanka Car in Ghana, Kiira Motor Corporation in Uganda and Saith Technologies in Zimbabwe.


151229122536-katanka-02-exlarge-169 (1)Kantanka Car is an electric car manufacturing company founded by Kwadwo Safo and headquarted in Kumasi, Ghana. The manufacturing base in Accra can produce up to 100 cars month. The Kantanka range of cars includes electric four wheel drive vehicles like the Nkunimdie model, the electric Kantanka Onatafuo 4×4 pickup and the electric Kantanka Opasuo range as well as the electric Otumfo sport utility vehicle. The Kantanka electric cars are powered by 12 rechargeable batteries so the car can power up by just plugging the charger into an ordinary socket.

One of their unique selling points is that these cars are designed and made to survive bad roads. Another feature unique to Kantanka is that their cars can be controlled with voice commands. The company is also supplying the military and police in Ghana. The sticker price of the Kantanka line starts at about $18,000 up to $35,000. A cheaper vehicle is projected to hit the market later.


KiiraKiira Motors Corporation (KMC) is an automobile manufacturing company in Uganda which was established in 2012. It began as a collaboration between Makerere University, College of Engineering & Industrial Design, the Uganda Ministry of Trade, Industry & Cooperatives, and the Office of the President of Uganda. The government of Uganda has invested over US$70 million in the company. The company was allocated 100 acres of land in the Jinja Industrial and Business Park to build an assembly plant. Commercial production is expected to start in 2018.

Uganda aims to start producing its first car the Kiira EV SMACK with a production goal of 300 a month. The car will be a combination of a cconventional internal combustion engine and an electric vehicle, which means they can run on petrol/gasoline and or electric energy.  The prototype was assembled by a team of eight with Paul Isaac Musasizi, the project manager and technical director of the Vehicle Project Makerere, as the team leader, Richard Madanda (electrical), Fred Matovu (mechanical), Jonathan Kasumba (Fine Artist), Gerald Baguma (programmer/ communications), Nasser Gyegenda (mechanical), Pauline Korukundo (programmer) and Nancy Ssenabulya (programmer/research assistant).

The overall head of the project was Prof. S.S Tickodri Togboa, a renowned professor of electrical engineering and computing, who is also the university’s deputy vice-chancellor. The project was funded under the Presidential Initiative at the university, through which sh25b was earmarked to the college of engineering to propel technological research over a period of five years. It also received additional support from the Gatsby Garage near the college and Kagimu and Habib Investments. The battery can last for a distance of 80km before recharging for 3-4 hours with electric power. The car has zero noise and fumes emissions.

Saith-technologies-carAbout a year ago, Sangulani Max Chikumbutso unveiled his latest inventions and became the first Zimbabwean to design and make a hybrid engine-powered helicopter, an electric car, a magnetic converter, a ‘green’ power generator and a special drone. His designs were launched through his company, Saith Technologies. The Saith Fully Electric Vehicle was designed and made locally by Chikumbutso through Saith Technologies. The video below explains how the Saith Fully Electric Vehicle (FEV) operates. It has a top speed of 90km/h. The automobile doesn’t need charging from a source of electricity. It needs just 5 normal gel batteries to begin producing sufficient capacity to start the vehicle and charge the batteries as it moves.

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