Africa: How Electric Vehicles Will Drive Africa's Future Automobiles

10 June 2021

As technology evolves, experts are thinking of new ways of adopting smart technologies that will drive global digital transformation, the International Energy Agency has said.

Exploring the possibility of driving the future of automobiles in Africa, using electric vehicles, the agency in a recent publication, said in many ways, electric vehicles remained an excellent innovation and would likely be one of the best things to happen in the present day as they assist the global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

It explained that the future of transportation appears to be electric, as more people across the globe are opting for electric vehicles and the industry is undeniably on a positive path of technology innovation.

According to the International Energy Agency, "The number of electric cars, trucks, vans and buses on the world's roads is on course to increase from 11 million vehicles to 145 million by the end of the decade. In addition to providing a convenient and easy transport method, Electronic Vehicles (EVs) are also environmentally friendly. Their ease of maintenance, cost efficiency, and accessibility make them an excellent choice."

In 2014, KMC developed the Kiira EVS, Africa's first electric vehicle, and in 2016, it developed Africa's first solar electric bus, the Kayoola Solar Bus.

South Africa appears to be the leading country in the adoption of electric vehicles on the continent. Nissan LEAF and BMW i3 are two notable electric vehicles sold in South Africa. As of 2019, South Africa is home to about 180 charging stations for electric vehicles.

In addition to this, African countries such as Kenya and Rwanda have enacted tax incentives to encourage electric vehicle imports and are developing their own electric two- and three-wheelers.

In May 2021, Lagos, unveiled its first electric car. It was also the first electric car assembled in Nigeria. Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, had unveiled the new Hyundai Kona, a product of the Stallion Group.

At the launch, the governor had committed to providing charging points for electric vehicles (EVs) throughout the state.

Hyundai Kona, manufactured by Stallion Group, is a fully electric vehicle and, as expected, emits no emissions, and can be charged both at home and outside of the house.

Additionally, a proudly indigenous manufacturing company, JET Motors is producing custom-made electric vehicles in Africa.

These vehicles are suitable for the African and Nigerian environment.

In Africa, the adoption of electric vehicles, is however, not without challenge.

Commenting on the challenges facing electric vehicle adoption in Africa, the International Energy Agency said: "For African countries to be able to take advantage of electric vehicles, a few issues need to be addressed. One is, an EV typically costs more money and is dependent on reliable energy than a gas-powered car. It is no secret that many African countries rank among the lowest per capita income countries in the world, and also lack reliable energy supplies.

"At the very least, EVs must become as affordable as petrol-powered vehicles, and if Africa does not live up to its electric potential, the EV could remain a fiction on the continent. Moreover, recharging the battery takes time, compared to filling up at the gas station, recharging an electric car's battery needs more time.

"An electric car may take up to 20 hours to charge fully, depending on the model."

The agency said African governments must understand that in the near future, ageing electric batteries could quickly succumb to degradation and eventually become outdated, leading to a massive waste problem in Africa."

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