•Says Nigeria could become dumping ground

By Theodore Opara

THE Federal Government has been advised to join the global community to embrace the use of Electric Vehicles, EV, rather than depending on Internal Combustion Engines, ICE, which destroys the environment.

•Dr. Kayode Olagunju

Delivering a lecture titled: “The advent of electric vehicles and reality on the Nigerian oil economy, at the Club Project Luncheon and investiture of second Club President of Rotary Club of Epe Metropolitan District 9110, Nigeria, Dr. Kayode Olagunju, Assistant Corps Marshal, Federal Road Safety Corps, said Nigeria has to take urgent action on this because its crude oil will not last forever.

Dr. Olagunju who also holds a doctorate degree in Transport Geography lamented a situation where the Senate turned down a bill on the ground that embracing electric vehicle in the country would hurt the economy since Nigeria is an oil producing country.

He recalled that the Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu at the time had stated: “Besides, in economic sense, we are an oil producing country. So we should do everything possible to frustrate the sale of electric vehicles in Nigeria to enable us sell our oil.”

He noted that electric vehicles were becoming very popular in many parts of the world, stressing that in 2018, the global electric car fleet exceeded 5.1 million, up two million from prevoius year and almost doubling the number of new electric car sales.

He identified China as the leading user of electric cars while European countries and United States have not be left behind.

Olagunju further disclosed that International Energy Agency in 2018 revealed that sales of electronic cars may rise by 24 per cent yearly till 2030 while estimating that the number of electric passenger cars and light commercial vehicles could hit 125 million by 2030.  He said: “On the basis of existing and announced policies there is potential to reach 228 million if governments increase their ambitions in line with international climate change goals.”

He urged the Federal Government to take advantage of electric vehicles over internal combustion vehicles to save funds and the environment.

According to him: “A huge sum, in the realm of one trillion naira is spent of fuel subsidies by the Federal Government annually. A gradual shift from internal combustion engine vehicles, ICE, to electric vehicles will help in freeing a lot of funds for developmental purposes, especially at a time when most countries of the world are setting targets to stop sales of new gasoline and diesel  cars.”

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He identified such countries to include Britain, and France, 2040; India, 2030, and Norway ,2025. Other countries on list with official targets for electric car sales include China, Australia, Denmark, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, Portugal, Korea and Spain. Also automotive manufacturers are setting self targets to stop production of ICE vehicles.

Olagunju, therefore, said the Federal Government should make efforts to avoid making Nigeria a dumping ground for phased out fossil-fuel vehicles with attendant environmental, safety and other consequences. He wondered why the government was not taking the advantage since it was more economical, stressing:: “Electric cars are actually more economical in operation and maintenance. It also takes less than N300 to recharge a vehicle for range of 500km compared to over N4,000 with petrol or diesel.

“Another advantage is that Nigeria is blessed with abundant sunshine which will aid in solar power charging of the renewable energy sources for EVs. This is coupled with the fact that the advent of electric vehicles in Nigeria will also bring new businesses and create jobs.

Just like Information and Communication Technology ICT led to creation of new opportunities, the introduction of electric cars will introduce new skill sets with additional windows of opportunities open to help reduce unemployment rates in the country.

“The National Automotive Design and Development Council, NADDC, should spearhead the plans on EVs in Nigeria. The council should partner universities, research institutes and other stakeholders on research and other efforts that will lead to the emergence and successful integration of Nigeria EVs. The council should also partner with manufacturers both locally and internationally as Nigeria joins the train.

“Universities and other educational institutions should not only engage in research but also in the development of skill sets required in the management of the EVs. Technical institutions should help in training mechanics and relevant professionals with the right skills for the EVs management. There should be public-private-partnership in the manufacture of EVs in the country. Let us encourage our private sector to invest in EVs. Let us mandate our automotive companies to explore it. We can actually give a deadline for the production with adequate governmental support.

“Provision of infrastructure like charging stations/points should be vigorously pursued. Filling station operators should be encouraged to have EV charging points provided in all their stations. Other interest groups should also be encouraged to participate while government should invest in public charging points. In 2018, the world’s first electrified road that recharges the batteries of cars and trucks driving on it was opened in Sweden. The two-kilometre road in Stockholm has a system to calculate the vehicle energy consumption and bill the owner appropriately. Nigeria should join other nations in developing infrastructure and exploring opportunities inherent in the use of EVs.

“Let us also tap into the abundance of sunshine here in developing the charging infrastructure. The solar system should be explored. The country should also improve on power generation and distribution. This will aid production of the EVs and related infrastructure.

“That will assist in making the prices affordable. Grants and Tax Incentives should be introduced by the government to promote EVs. Manufacturers of EVs as well as importers should have preferential vehicle excise duty rates and other incentives. Grants such as research and innovation grants could also be made available to those involved in the evolution of the EVs.

“We should also look into our laws and regulations, amend and adopt international best practices suitable for our local environment on the production, sales and use of EVs in the country.”



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