Nigeria missing out in global race for electric vehicles
•Stakeholders task government on plans for climate change
Electric vehicles are a novel and eco-friendly technology designed to reduce man’s dependence on fossil fuel, and potentially a threat to the conventional fuel car market. This new technology has remained to toast of many countries of the world, but Nigeria has been assessed to be lagging form the global race.
For many developed countries, the switch from fossil fuel to cleaner and renewable sources of energy is ongoing and inevitable. Despite many obstacles electric vehicles (EVs) are being relied on to help halt climate change.
Globally, the production of electric cars and hybrid electric vehicles has come with incredible speed and are getting more deeply rooted than ever. In fact, they are operational in the economies of Asia, Europe and America.
The electric vehicles are flourishing in countries like: China, India, Japan, South Korea, Germany, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, France, United States, Canada, among others.
With perhaps the exception of South Africa, Africa, including Nigeria, has remained mere observers in the array of the emerging revolutionary breakthroughs in the world of vehicle manufacturing.
An energy agency, DNV GL in its yearly Energy Transition Outlook, predicted that by 2032, electric vehicles will account for half of the global car sales and there will also be a rapid uptake for electrified buses in cities. By contrast, it expects hydrogen to increasingly play a role in long-distance and heavy trucking.
DNV GL forecasts that adoptions of EVs which, its Chief Executive Officer, Remi Eriksen says are three to four times more efficient will mean that overall emissions from transportation will be marginally lower by 2050, despite the global fleet expanding by up to 75pc. It also predicts there will be more than 1 billion two or three-wheeled vehicles in Asia by 2030 and “more than 70pc of them will be electric”.
To most stakeholders, the fact that the world is accelerating the shift from internal combustion engines as power units for transportation to electric-powered vehicles means that the demand for hydrocarbons as a fuel source would decrease and supply could exceed demand and oil price could remain low for a very long time.
They however noted that, electricity to power electric vehicles would have to be generated by oil, gas, coal and renewables with oil and coal contribution reducing over time. They added that while this is happening, the world is also adopting gas as a more environmentally friendly fuel source, stressing that remained good news for countries like Nigeria with substantial gas resources.
Media Consultant and Public Opinion Analyst, Stanley Okereke, said electric vehicle is a welcome idea, but Nigeria needs to sincerely set the structures on the ground right before hollowing into it.
“Hybrid vehicle or cars running on rechargeable and renewable energy is just an excellent idea to run on but my question however is, are we in concrete terms ripe and ready for it?” he queried.
Okereke said electric vehicles have been considered to have attained a good and remarkable success in Europe, especially Norway, but there are “very many” challenges we have here that are obvious, which we have to deal with before we start off talks and possibly preparation in that angle.
He recalled that Senator Murray Bruce’s idea that was brought on the floor of the Senate for deliberations and considerations were stalled due to lack of tenacity to buy into the future.
Their reasons according to him might be multi faceted. Firstly, it may have been done out of fear or lack of conviction that it’s a great task that is not pursuable in Nigeria at the moment.
“Secondly, they may have spuriously done that with a mindset to still shade properly the undercover business in the oil terrain where almost a trillion naira is put forward as expenses on oil subsidy.
Okereke who decried the electricity challenge in the country quizzed: “What is the average supply of light per day in an area you might even consider that electricity distribution companies are fair to? Answer to this question is crucial. What is the state of our turbines and facility in and around it currently in Nigeria? Knowing well that these are primarily where this power is being generated.
“Are Government willing to restructure the unparallel arrangement they themselves put in place in our GENCO’s and DISCO’s? So as we will have just an optimal distribution? Responses to the questions are the solution Nigeria needs to have on how successfully the hybrid car revolution will fly here in Nigeria.”
He added: “I summarily will say it is what you call in literature a “utopian concept, realistically put“unattainable quest, we need agents of change here and not rulers.”
Dean, School of Transport, Lagos State University (LASU), Prof Samuel Odewumi, said Nigeria is yet to wake up from her slumber for industrial revolution.
Odewumi said nature has its way of dragging those who refuse to walk.
“Whether we wake up to adopt “Green Technology” or not, the world will move on without us. I know we will be very sluggish in adopting for many reasons: educational technological, cultural, attitudinal, ignorance, superstitious beliefs, difficult research environment and poor governance.
“But the world is already on the move and sooner than expected, fossil fuel guzzling vehicles will gradually stop rolling out of the manufacturing plants. Just as coal fired engines became archaic.
He said: “Our govt should fund research and innovation that will give us a seat at the high table of new economies. We have missed agric, industrial and digital revolutions. It’s time to wake up and join the latest revolution. It will shameful that Nigeria at the tropics with abundant intensity of solar radiation.
“Nigeria cannot afford to be left behind on this. Like every aspect of our national life, we are yet to put our acts together. We have the basics of this technology to drive a national green transportation agenda. I am sure that many universities in the country have gone very far in their research into this technology like UNN, BUK, ABU and UNILAG.
“So as far as adoption for consumption is concerned, you can be sure that it will soon become a status symbol by our egoistic elite as a form of show off. We are not thinking of joining the producer league. The process should start by encouraging the local efforts at producing Nigerian made Okada, Keke Marwa not to mention cars and buses,” he added.