The Era of the Kiira Part 1: EV SMACK Origins and Making


Most great things have a beginning, a thrilling tale that has shaped the destiny that lies in promise. The SMACK wasn’t always, well SMACK and the original design wasn’t more than an EV. Today, Techjaja brings you the inspiration behind the legend in the making. Early this week we promised you the whole story and today we bring you our first episode of where it all begun.

(All images are super compressed)


From the release of the original POC Kiira EV, it was always the intention of CEDAT to improve the EV beyond the concept that it was. As luck would have it, this resolution coincided with the annual Science and Technology Innovation Challenge in 2012 that brought together students from various schools across the nation. One among this ‘confluence’ of geniuses was St Marys College Kisubi, aka SMACK as best known here in Uganda.

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At the conference, St Marys established their dominance with a unique and revolutionary concept of a hybrid car. Their concept integrated a wide range technologies ranging from solar, wind and fossil fuel power sources to smart self-aware on-board computers like anti-crash, collision detection, self-parking among too big a world of marvels to mention. As it turned out, they happened to win that year’s competition following Gayaza High School’s spectacular win the previous year.

Regardless of the outcome of the competition, the folks at Kiira Motors were completely in love with the concept and thus went ahead to extend an invitation to these brilliant minds from St Marys. In honor to this invitation, they showed up for countless hours and worked whole heartedly with the professionals at Kiira motors to develop the practical concept against which the Kiira you know and love today was built. In recognition of their commendable selfless and tireless input, it was decided that the product from that concept would be called SMACK. And thus the Kiira EV SMACK embryo was named.

It’s also a reputation among the alumni of St Marys to stand out in a distinguished and radiant way everywhere they go. You’d know one when you see one or hear one. It was the desire of the Kiira Motors team that the SMACK EV exhibits these very traits, to stand out among other cars on the road, along sidewalks or in the parking. Before it could become the pearl among cars, it had to be a car first. This begins with addressing certain issues present in its predecessor.


If anything, this century has taught us one thing; we all hate charging. Learning from our phones, laptops and tablets it’s inconveniencing, interrupting and basically annoying. Imagine having to charge a device casually sipping 50Amps of power every once in a while. Imagine what two or so people in the neighborhood with this kind of habit would do to your regular regional power supply…especially in this world cup season. And while at that, imagine their power bill.

Kiira EV SMACK engineOne of the major objectives of the SMACK concept was to create a product that would blend in neatly with the daily life of a Ugandan. This demanded that the inconveniences that come with charging be eliminated. Uganda lacks the infrastructure to support the operation of plugin hybrid power requirements. If the SMACK were all electric, the rollout would be challenging, as the Infrastructure would be a project of its own. Also, having an all-electric car would require a bigger battery to accommodate the daily mileage of an average Ugandan car owner who do an average of 30 Km between home, work and hangout places.

This brings us to the second objective; to refuel/energize the car for the least possible times in the longest possible distance, in this case 540km. The all electric version couldn’t do this alone, so there was need for a combustion engine. To do this, the propulsion system has been designed to be electric to allow the generator to serve two purposes. To charge the batteries during combustion engine operations and to power the propulsion system in any mode. It was never an objective to guarantee zero emission in this version. All that matters is the person gets to their destination safe and sound in time.



It all starts with a dedicated team and despite the challenges involved the guys put their all into it. When designing the Kiira EV a lot of R&D was sunk into it. Every inch of this car screams team work. It’s Designed measured, curved and fabricated to precision. The leather seats are comfy and also locally made. And very step of making this car was a worthwhile milestone.

The first time you look at this car, you will notice how rigid the body is, it’s indeed not your average Japanese paper weight car. The car has some external design touches to die for, from the cool spot RIMs on the tyres, curved front and back with engravings of the created crane, that symbolizes Uganda’s peacefulness

And to overcome one other problem of the POC, the Kiira SMACK EV is built to accommodate 5 people since is meant to be a family car. This saloon was made for a family of middle class Ugandan couple, typically a man married to one wife with their two children and probably the house help.

Kiira EV SMACK Uganda Emblem
The Uganda Emblem engraved on the car behind , steering and Spot rims


Design precedes Specification, and at the end of the day, the car must do as it says it does. Kiira Motors, above anything cares that you get what the targets specify and that you can use the car safely. For this reason, the product must be tested. Tests will include race track speed, operation range on full tank, nose tests, harshness, vibration tests, braking time and distance from full speed among others. There is an elaborate cocktail of a bewildering combination of tests….but the crash test. It’d be irresponsible to crash the only car made. However, such tests will be included in the production intent. The car will not go public until completely tested.

Big thanks for Paul, Musaasizi for accepting to have an exclusive interview with techjaja. He also hopes that the automobile journalism space in Uganda will grow to bring more awareness about cars. Join us for episode two next week.


Other contributers to this post
Roger Bambino: Video Productuion & Co-Author
Remmie Bristol: Camera
  • Eristaus

    Good Job with this one TechJaja team, I love it especially the Video/Documentary. I was googling KiiraEV and was getting tired of blogs like DW, WSJ, the Guardian, CNN among others showing – Finally we have original content by Ugandans. You have no idea how that makes me happy. Good Work guys. Keep it up.

    • roger bambino

      thanks bro. much appreciated esp coming from you. let keep the fire burning