Wilber Explores Electric Vehicles in Rwanda

Wilber Explores Electric Vehicles in Rwanda

Michelle Wilber joined a delegation of Alaska energy specialists to attend the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers’ Power Africa conference in Kigali, Rwanda, in August. 

Wilber presented a paper titled "A Global Daily Solar Photovoltaic Load Coverage Factor Map for Passenger Electric Vehicles.” The paper analyzed the ability of 1 kW of solar photovoltaics to cover daily driving of a passenger electric vehicle across the globe given the local temperatures and solar resource.  

During the conference, Wilber also chaired a paper session on off-grid systems and was invited to participate in the two-day 2022 Global Energy Access Innovation Workshop in association with the event. 

“This was an amazing opportunity to compare and contrast the power system and electrification needs of Alaska with those in the rest of the world, and to explore what it will take to bring about a globally just and beneficial energy transition,” said Wilber. “Some opportunities, like electrifying transportation and implementing solar microgrids, are universal, and some things, like electrifying heat or clean cooking, are more specific challenges to various locales. We all have things to learn from each other.” 

In an example of knowledge sharing, Rwanda company Ampersand is working with local motorcycle taxi drivers to provide a cost-effective battery-swapping service for electric motorcycles. While battery swapping has not yet proved tenable for cars, Wilber feels this model has application in Alaska for other smaller vehicles such as side-by-sides, 4-wheelers or snowmachines, if for no other reason than that a removable battery could be brought inside a warm space when parked. 

“Swappable batteries also allow for battery charging at optimal times to support the power grid, even if the vehicle is in use at that time," added Wilber.


Michelle Wilber speaks with a representative of Ampersand about rechargeable motorcycle battery swapping programs. Photo courtesy of Wilber.