Nige­ria strug­gles to pro­vide re­li­able elec­tric­ity as elec­tric ve­hi­cles’ mar­ket ex­pands

Business Day (Nigeria) - - ENERGY INTELLIGEN­CE - STEPHEN ONYKEWELU

Elec­tric ve­hi­cles sales have been fore­cast to make up a third of new cars sold glob­ally in the next ten years as Nige­ria strug­gles to pro­vide re­li­able elec­tric­ity for its ex­plod­ing pop­u­la­tion.

The world is on course to reach an­nual elec­tric ve­hi­cles sales of 31.1 mil­lion by 2030, 10 mil­lion more than pre­vi­ously fore­cast, due to chang­ing con­sumer sen­ti­ment and weak­en­ing adop­tion bar­ri­ers, ac­cord­ing to a new anal­y­sis by Deloitte, a multi­na­tional pro­fes­sional ser­vices net­work.

In spite of the dis­rup­tion caused by the coro­n­avirus pan­demic, it still ex­pected to­tal global EV sales to reach 2.5 mil­lion in 2020 and, based on a com­pound an­nual growth rate of 29 per­cent, Deloitte es­ti­mated that the vol­ume would grow to above 11.2 mil­lion in 2025 and 31.1 mil­lion by 2030.

“At this mile­stone, fully elec­tric ve­hi­cles will ac­count for 81% of all new EVS sold ac­cord­ing to the re­search, out­per­form­ing their plug-in hybrid peers,” it said.

EVS, also known as plugin elec­tric ve­hi­cles de­rive their power from elec­tric­ity sup­plied the elec­tric grid. They re­ceive elec­tric­ity by plug­ging into the grid and store it in bat­ter­ies.

How­ever, Nige­ria seems to have other press­ing is­sues to at­tend to than join in the race to adopt elec­tric cars. On April 10, 2019, Ben Mur­ray-bruce, a Nige­rian sen­a­tor rep­re­sent­ing Bayelsa East tweeted “to­day, I pre­sented two im­por­tant bills on the floor of the @Ngrse­n­ate.” One of the bills was Elec­tric Cars ( In­tro­duc­tion) Bill, 2019 (SB.726) – First Read­ing.

The bill aimed to phase out petrol and diesel-fired ve­hi­cles by 2035 and re­placed by elec­tric ve­hi­cles. A corol­lary ob­jec­tive of the bill was to drive the use of mod­ern tech­nol­ogy, deem­pha­sise de­pen­dence on crude oil and re­duce air pol­lu­tion.

Mur­ray-bruce lost the ar­gu­ment de­spite at­tempt­ing to show it was cheaper to main­tain elec­tric cars. The Sen­ate re­jected the Elec­tric Car bill days af­ter, at a ple­nary ses­sion, de­scrib­ing it as ir­rel­e­vant.

Nige­ri­ans did not spare Mur­ray- Bruce ei­ther. In re­sponse to his tweet on the mat­ter, Twit­ter han­dle, Etukudo Em­manuel said the sen­a­tor is out of touch with Nige­rian realities and prob­a­bly more at­tuned to de­vel­op­ments in the de­vel­oped coun­tries. “How on earth can he be talk­ing about elec­tric cars in a coun­try with­out elec­tric­ity? Maybe he is do­ing it for him­self be­cause he wants to drive an elec­tric car.”

Ade­bayo Samuel, also a Twit­ter han­dle said it does make any sense at all to talk about “elec­tric cars in a coun­try pro­duc­ing less than 10, 000 megawatts of elec­tric­ity.”

There are mas­sive elec­tric­ity deficits in Nige­ria. Africa’s big­gest econ­omy has a peak of 5, 500 megawatts of elec­tric­ity, daily. This is a far cry from the 20, 000 megawatts needed to drive the econ­omy for­ward, ac­cord­ing to peo­ple with a deep un­der­stand­ing of Nige­ria’s en­ergy sec­tor and needs.

“The pub­lic per­cep­tion is that Nige­ria needs about 60, 000 megawatts of elec­tric­ity to have a thriv­ing econ­omy. For 200 mil­lion peo­ple, Nige­ria should be tar­get­ing 200, 000 megawatts of elec­tric­ity,” Onyeche Ti­fase, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor and CEO, Siemens Nige­ria said at Busi­ness­Day’s Dig­i­tal Di­a­logue in June.

Onyeche out­lined some of the chal­lenges fac­ing Nige­ria’s Elec­tric­ity Sup­ply In­dus­try to in­clude an ob­so­lete in­fra­struc­ture, which needs to be re­ha­bil­i­tated and ex­panded, poor pay­ment cul­ture and com­mer­cial frame­work.

“But we are start­ing to see ef­forts from the govern­ment to re­solve these is­sues. Our col­lab­o­ra­tion with the govern­ment on the pres­i­den­tial power ini­tia­tive will start to close the in­fra­struc­ture gap and meet cus­tomer de­mands,” she said.

De­spite these elec­tric­ity chal­lenges, JET Mo­tor Com­pany, a Nige­ri­an­based au­to­mo­bile man­u­fac­turer has raised $9 mil­lion from for­eign in­vestors as it intensifie­s ef­forts at de­liv­er­ing elec­tric ve­hi­cles in Nige­ria.

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