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Hyundai Kona set to be Nigeria’s first Electric Car

-By Ironhamd Sydney Chukwuemeka

One of Nigeria’s auto assembly companies, Stallion Motors Ltd, is on the verge of making history with the launch of the country’s first ever Electric Vehicle (EV) – the Hyundai Kona, which will roll out from its assembly plant in Lagos.

Versatile and powerful, the Hyundai Kona will come as an All-Electric SUV, and is expected to alter the status quo in the competitive SUV segment.

The Stallion Motors initiative, it was learnt, is in recognition of the need to ensure that Nigeria becomes part of the global trend where industries are switching from internal combustion engines to sustainable means of doing business and adopting technology with less environmental impact.

The cheery news is also coming at a time many developed economies and global vehicle manufacturers are working towards set deadlines on the production of electric vehicles, thereby raising concerns that Nigeria might be left behind by the new energy mobility ‘train’.

But, dropping the hint of the project penultimate week, the Stallion Group’s Chief Executive Officer, Anant Badjatya assured that before the year 2020 would run out, Nigeria would officially join the rest of the world in embracing electric cars, courtesy of its multi-brand auto company, Stallion Motors.

When Hyundai Kona is successfully launched, Stallion Motors would be adding one more feather to its cap which already bears a number of accolades, including the credit of being Nigeria’s leading auto assembler and franchisee of no fewer than nine global brands, one of which is Hyundai.

Warning that climate change is for real, Badjatya explained that the changes in global temperature and weather patterns seen today are caused by human activities, expressing concern that they are happening much faster than the natural climate variations of the past.

It is in response to this global phenomenon that auto users around the world are speedily replacing internal combustion engine-powered vehicles with electric vehicles, which generate no pollutant. Like dry season wild fire, the revolution is moving with speed.

The CEO said in planning to officially launch into the Nigerian market the Hyundai Kona EV – an Electric car regarded by European motoring journalists as world’s number one – Stallion Motors took into cognisance this trend in the global auto market.

“Well-meaning and concerned people globally are urgently making moves to save our dear planet,” explained Badjatya.

“After operating successfully in Nigeria for over five decades, the least our company could give back to the country and by extension, the world is to be a leading pilot in steering the nation to the direction of clean energy use and reduction of emission.

“Not being dissuaded by the nation’s infrastructural challenges, one of our plans for this year is to introduce into the country Electric Vehicle (EV) and, in no distant future, embark on attitude change campaign for a clean environment in conjugation with Hyundai.

The Hyundai Kona electric’s power-packed performance will provide a thrilling driving experience with high acceleration over long distances. Driving range for Kona Electric is 482 km with an acceleration of (0-100kms) in 9.7 secs.

The ease of charging is so unmatched that one can even plug it in at home or at work and charge it for 9.35 hours for a full battery capacity. The SUV comes with five years of battery warranty and five years of vehicle warranty. Kona Electric will change the way people think about going electric.

Is Nigeria ready?
While putting finishing touches to the National Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP) for passage into law, the Federal Government of Nigeria in February 2019, laid bare interest in EV technology by assigning University of Nigeria, Nsuka (UNN), University of Lagos, Usman Dan Fodio University and Metrological Institute for design and production of a made-in-Nigeria electric car.

Less than a year after (July 2019), UNN announced completion of an EV put together with 80 per cent local content.
Representing the Federal Government at the unveiling ceremony of the car, the Director General of National Automotive Design and Development Council {NADDC], Jelani Aliyu, did not only commend the institution for the achievement, but also expressed President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s resolve to support any company willing to invest in local manufacturing of electric vehicles.

Also in his keynote address at an annual event of the Nigeria Auto Journalists Association held recently in Lagos, Aliyu described the EV technology as good news for Nigeria.

“To tap from the trend,” Aliyu explained, “We have met and discussed with both electric vehicle and charging station manufacturers in China and Germany towards the pilot programme.”

It would also be recalled that Nigerian government, not long ago, signed an MOU with Volkswagen, Europe’s largest auto manufacturer and leading investor electric vehicles, to produce vehicles in Nigeria.

Apart from initial value of the vehicle, EVs attract minimal running cost. For instance, Microsoft Co-founder, Bill Gates, has reportedly acquired his very first electric car, which happens to be Porsche Taycan, the one that Stallion Group plans to launch in Nigeria soon after Hyundai Kona.

Currently, Nigerian electricity consumers resident in accommodation categorised under R1 are charged only N4 per kilowatt. That implies that when Hyundai Kona goes on sale in Nigeria, its owner would incur only N316 (N4x79kWat) to get a full charge, if he or she plugs the car onto public power supply.