•Infrastructure and power are undermining EV penetration in Nigeria
•Hyundai Kona records 120 units sold in two years
Two years after the Stallion Group launched the first-ever Nigerian-assembled electric car, fewer than 200 units have been sold as consumers have remained resolute in their romance with using fossil fuels, even as access to electricity to charge the vehicles has been restricted undermines acceptance.
While the main concern with electric cars has never been the price or the road that a potential owner will be concerned about, the concern has always been where to charge them given the number of hours of electricity it takes to keep the vehicle running to hold as there is limited or non-existent charging points.
The National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC) had initiated a pilot program for electric vehicles. The NADDC worked with the Stallion Group, the European Union and other stakeholders to deploy 100 solar-powered charging stations for electric vehicles across the country.
Sokoto was the first state in Nigeria to open a solar-powered charging station for electric cars. Since then, three more charging stations have been built at the University of Lagos, Usman Dan Fodio University and the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
In a related development, the Nigerian company called Metro Africa Xpress or MAX NG has produced electric motorcycles that can travel 160 km with a driver and 120 km with a passenger.
A Mr. Abubakar Mustapha from Borno state has also manufactured Nigeria’s first electric minibuses, which can carry up to seven passengers and travel up to 120 to 150 kilometers on a full charge.
But these charging stations are small compared to the demand for electric vehicles in the country
Lagos Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu had launched the all-electric car in 2020 in hopes that the locally assembled sport utility vehicle would help ease the pressure on fossil fuel use.
Although the governor highly praised the noble initiative of the Stallion Group, he promised that the Lagos state government will make arrangements for charging stations for the vehicles across Lagos to make it easier for users to enjoy their electric vehicles (EV).
However, findings from The Guardian showed that the state government has yet to announce power charging stations.
Aside from charging stations, the state of the auto sector has been linked to the Nigerian government’s inability to pass legislation intended to underpin the policy. The sector also suffers from the lack of auto financing programs and other existing challenges in the country.
Around the world, the production of electric cars and hybrid electric vehicles has progressed at an incredible speed and is taking root more deeply than ever.
In fact, they operate in the economies of Asia, Europe and America. Electric vehicles are thriving in countries like China, India, Japan, South Korea, Germany, UK, Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, France, United States and Canada.
Stallion Motors head of media and marketing, Sonu Singh, said the company has sold just 120 units of Kona since its launch in 2020, explaining that the rollout will be gradual as more people embrace it in the years to come will.
Regarding the charging aspect, he said the battery pack is designed to allow users to charge their cars at home.
He said the government is trying to mount some of the charging points in gas stations in the country, but these efforts are still minimal compared to other African countries.
Former Dean of Lagos State University (LASU) School of Transport and Logistics, Professor Samuel Odewumi, said in due course it was acceptable. Nigerians always embrace new technologies very early.
Odewumi believes that the challenge of fully EV adoption is being hampered by supporting infrastructure such as the ubiquitous distribution of charging points at gas stations so owners aren’t stranded when batteries fail.
The other element, he said, is service support for the technology in the form of local know-how and spare parts. If these problems are fixed, Nigerians will embrace the technology wholeheartedly. This is all the more true given the rising prices of fossil fuels.
“I will advise the government to provide the policy and implementation framework for charging infrastructure to become part of the service of the dispensers and to provide guidelines for the establishment of charging parks by interested private investors. The cost is very moderate, small business owners like to access it.
“It has to be said that this is the global trend and Nigeria cannot afford to lag behind. But it is also a warning sign that fossil fuels will not be the main source of energy for the transport industry in the long term. Therefore, there is an urgent need to diversify our revenue streams,” he said.
For Automedics Ltd Chief Operating Officer, Gbola Oba, if the electricity supply is fixed and Nigeria eases access to charging points, Nigerians will welcome the use of electric vehicles.
However, West Atlantic Cold-Chain and Commodities Limited chief executive officer Henrii Nwanguma said EV supply in Nigeria is not matched with demand. He said Nigeria has energy equity, which poses a challenge to EV acceptance.
He asked if there is any strategic policy or tax rebate for EV users in the country that would attract people to use it.
He explained that the government has not given any incentives for electric vehicles in the country.