Electric mobility and transport leapfrogging in Kigali, Rwanda

Project Active from to Energy and Sustainable Growth

Rapid advances in technology, seen in fast-charging electric buses, electric motorbikes with replaceable batteries, dock less bicycles and scooters, and a host of other innovations, may have led to a greater change to way we think about urban transport over the last 5 years than over the previous 50. Whether these technologies succeed in helping address climate change, improve urban connectivity, reduce air pollution, and reduce expenditure on imported energy (among other possible benefits), however, will depend on how technologies are implemented, over what timescale and by which actors.

The Rwandan government has recently announced an ambition to electrify mobility in the country and highlighted a need to improve air quality as a key rationale. However, a clear set of policies informed by locally developed evidence have yet to be developed. Developing this local evidence base is critical. Whether electric vehicles reduce GHG emissions depends on an understanding of the GHG emissions intensity of electricity used in electric vehicles today, and into the future. Whether air pollution is reduced, by what degree, and for who, depends on a range of technological, geographic, and urban characteristics.

Combining city-level transport and economic modelling capacities at the University of Leeds, this project will seek to provide an evidence-base and policy recommendations to inform a rapid shift to electric mobility. This work has the potential to support not only Rwanda’s shift to a low-carbon future, but to provide an example that can be valuable across the region and to advance our academic understanding of low carbon transitions in the transport sector.