Electric Vehicle to Support Rwanda's Environmental Protection Efforts

The Rwanda Environment Management Authority (REMA) has taken delivery of its first ever electric vehicle that will be used to support the institution’s mandate of environmental protection. A charging station has also been installed at the REMA office in Kacyiru. 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.

According to the International Energy Agency, transportation is responsible for 24% 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% 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, according to Juliet Kabera, Director General of the Rwanda Environment Management Authority.

“Vehicles powered by petrol and diesel contribute to climate change and pollute the air we breathe. Electric vehicles are part of the solution and the Rwanda Environment Management Authority is now taking advantage of this emerging technology to mitigate air pollution and walk the talk on reducing emissions,” she said.

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 climate action plan (NDC).

The initiative is a collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which is also supporting REMA to promote sustainable mobility, including the retrofitting of 80 motorcycles from combustion engines to electric power.

The Rwanda Environment Management Authority encourages public and private institutions as well as individuals to shift to electric vehicles and join the effort to beat air pollution. 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.

Vehicle owners 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.