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VW pilots electric cars in Rwanda.

Volkswagen is releasing a batch of electric Golf models onto the streets of Kigali, to be used with its local ride-hailing service called Move.

The tech-savvy city is surprisingly free of ride-hailing apps like Uber, Lfyt, Little and Swvl, which have swept across the continent providing safe and reliable rides.

The main form of transport is the East African boda-boda or motorcycle taxi, which can be solicited to drive across Rwanda's relatively small capital city for less than one dollar.

Move, VW's foray into the ride-hailing sector, provides Rwandan users with the newest model Volkswagen.

This latest venture will see electric cars added to that list. The ride-hailing service complements VW's expansion in the region, which saw a car-assembly plant established in Kigali's special economic zone last year.

"We've been investing more than $30bn into new electric vehicles and platforms and the entire world is moving in that direction," VW's Africa boss Thomas Schaefer told Reuters.

"The plan for Africa is that ultimately, we replace the whole fleet into electric."

German power equipment firm Siemens will build 15 charging stations in Kigali.

The stations can charge up to 80 percent of a car's battery within an hour, although it takes around 11 hours to charge a car at home, said Andile Dlamini, the group's communications officer.

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Title Annotation:Kaleidoscope
Publication:New African
Geographic Code:6RWAN
Date:Dec 1, 2019
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