Harare City Council “To Get Solar Buses” From Mysterious Chinese Company

Farai Mudzingwa Avatar

According to the Herald, Harare’s City Council has partnered with a Chinese company to secure 600 solar-powered buses that will service routes in the capital.

Apparently this project will also include a CBD shuttle service and the buses will serve all the suburban routes which include the following:

  • Norton
  • Southern suburbs
  • Eastern suburbs
  • Western suburbs

The bus alloction wasn’t fully discloses but the number of buses on the routes below was made public:

Harare-Norton: 35 buses

Harare-Chitungwiza: 45 buses

Harare-Ruwa: 20 buses

The council minutes The Herald used to report shares the following:

Operations would be managed from four established depots, two in Harare, one in Chitungwiza and one in Norton.

Depots would be firstly fitted with maintenance and recharging facilities and would be large enough to cater for some 200 buses each.

The project would have 12 battery swapping stations and they would act as charging centres. The bus types would be a new energy concept and Harare would be the first city to implement it in Africa. Transport services would run 19 hours every day from 4am to 11pm

Where is this Nanchang?

This sounds pretty cool but I tried googling the Nanchang Engineering and just seeing what they are about on the internet and to my surprise I didn’t find much. The first 18 results were all from local sites and the last two on the second page were pretty random and had nothing to do with this company.

It doesn’t help much that the image used by Herald is an image from Wikipedia and not the actually Nanchang bus (Herald did NOT say that was the bus by the way. Just making a point.)

I then went to YouTube to look for this company and really it’s the same story and this being 2019 you would expect a much larger internet presence for a company that can supply 600 buses to a country.

The only presence of China Nanchang Engineering I could find was a LinkedIn page of an engineer at China Nanchang Engineering (Zim) P/L. That seems to suggest the company has a division in Zim but there was no website or contact for that either so it’s hard to tell if that is official.

The Construction Industry Federation of Zimbawe also has a listing of a company by the name China Nanchang Engineering PL and they say the company is involved in civil engineering.

Not a first…

The report by the Herald also claims that Harare would be the first city in Africa to implement this bus type, which is unfortunately incorrect. Uganda has the Kayoola Solar Bus – a 35 seater, 80 km range bus running on solar energy.


  1. nyasha mupaso

    I don’t take herald serious at all. If you can’t find such a big compan on the Internet press must be an urban legend

  2. Anonymous

    Solar cars are not even a thing, let alone a bus ??

    1. Farai Mudzingwa

      Solar buses are actually a thing, I haven’t come across any cars but I haven’t really looked into that.

  3. Imi Vanhu Musadaro

    You could have called the City Council and done your own research. Reading a newspaper article and then googling what you read is barely research. If the newspaper made mistakes researching, or reporting, then transitively your article already has mistakes.

    1. Farai Mudzingwa

      So to you, it’s normal that a company capable of supplying 600 buses has no internet presence whatsoever? Get real!

  4. Pointless Critique

    If you could find neither hide nor hair of this company, it could be a good old case of badge engineering. Regardless of their provenance, I just hope they look better than those kayoola buses you put there! A for effort and initiative but D- for aesthetics!

    1. Farai Mudzingwa

      Hahaha yeah Kayoola looks a bit iffy