Stakeholders chart leeway for EVs with Nigeria’s first assembled Kona

EVs may hit 30%, as investors stake $1b in sector

Nigeria may be getting ready to align with trends in the global automotive market, especially the move away from combustion engines to electric vehicles (EVs) with a fresh attempt aimed at increasing green vehicles to 30 per cent.

The global electric vehicle market, valued at $162.34 billion in 2019 is projected to reach $802.81 billion by 2027. As of 2019, there were about 2.5 million EVs globally. But without supporting infrastructure and finance structure, EVs penetration in Nigeria has remained a mirage.

However, Nigeria’s first locally-assembled electric car, Hyundai Kona, may change the narrative, as the National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC), plans that over 30 per cent of vehicles plying roads in Nigeria could be EVs in the next four years.

While the Kona was assembled by Stallion, a key player in government’s automotive policy, it was shown off in Nigeria’s commercial city of Lagos and Abuja even as the policy for vehicle manufacturing has struggled to turn the sector around despite earlier optimism.

The despondence in the sector has been linked to the inability of the Nigerian Government to pass into law a bill seeking to back up the policy. The sector is also bedeviled by the lack of auto finance schemes and other extant challenges in the country.

Director-General of NADDC, Jelani Aliyu, said plans were underway to introduce a vehicle finance scheme that would enable Nigerians to easily own and drive technologically-advanced vehicles. The plan is not new. It has been in the pipeline since the auto policy became effective.

The Hyundai Kona, produced by Stallion group is 100 per cent electric and has a range of 482Km, long-lasting low maintenance cost, zero emissions, and environmentally friendly.

According to the company, while it facilitates a greener environment, the vehicle when fully charged for 9hrs 35mins, can go a distance of 482km before it requires recharging.

Aliyu disclosed that as of 2019, about $1billion had been invested in the Nigerian automotive sector, with over 400,000 installed capacity by credible local and international investors.

He added that the Stallion Group is a major player with investment, and the EV pilot programme would pave the way for the government to gather the necessary empirical data needed towards an electric vehicle policy, which would further enhance investment into their production and create its sustainability.

He said: “The Hyundai Kona unveiled today is testament to the achievements of the NAIDP, the unrelenting commitment and support for the local production of vehicles in Nigeria.

“Imagine a Nigeria without cell phones, this technology has come and positively transformed lives, it has powered businesses and energized the banking sector. This is also what we strategise to do to the automotive sector, to empower and promote the integration of advanced technology in the mobility solutions produced and used in the country dramatically to enhance lives.

“Advanced technology will allow vehicles that are safer, more efficient, and with very low maintenance cost. For example, an EVs car has thousands of less parts than conventional petrol or diesel engine so it has far fewer parts that can go wrong.”

Aliyu said the government has built six automotive training centres to leverage EV technology transfer.

Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, said the Federal Government would ensure that the vehicles were made affordable for Nigerians.

He observed that a considerable adoption of the EV for usage by Nigerians would also create an enabling environment for job creation.

He said: “This is an opportunity for other people to create business for themselves because they will be able to set up charging points to make money and by the time the auto policy is in place, there will be various incentives in there that will help the manufacturers to reduce the prices of what they are producing.”

Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, while speaking on whether the condition of roads in the country may affect EV adoption, said the construction and rehabilitation of over 13,000 km of road networks across the country are currently ongoing.

He assured of the Ministry’s support in the area of infrastructure development to aid the smooth deployment of electric vehicles.

Chief Executive Officer, Stallion Group, Anant Badjatya, hinted of plans to ensure that the vehicles are more affordable for Nigerians.

While calling for more investment in the industry, he said: “I want to assure you that with electric cars, there is no issue of petrol quality, bad equipment or fake spare parts or even maintenance cost, as it might be cheaper in the long run for the people to maintain and manage.”

“Kona might be a bit pricey for the masses, but we are working to ensure that we do some work on the product and make it cheaper. But right now the most important thing is to understand that we need to embrace the future.

“This is the future of auto and there is no doubt about that. One way or another, the entire world is embracing EV. Slowly, and slowly, we will get away from the diesel and petrol engines. France is doing that already with a target of doing away with petrol and diesel engines by 2030, and so no one would want to be a dumping ground.

“The good thing about Nigeria is that she’s always been innovative, and we need to get away together. I believe that when the cost of the battery goes down, the cost of the vehicle would also go down.”

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