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Why Nigeria Must Invest in Electric Vehicle Project – FRSC ACM, Olagunju

-By Ironhand Sydney Chukwuemeka

Nigeria must urgently join the current trend in the global automotive industry by embarking on its own electric vehicle {EV} project, in order not to be left behind in benefitting from the relevant technological development and expected impact on the economy.

The country should also avoid becoming a dumping ground for phased-out internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles that run on fossil fuel and have been confirmed to be very harmful to the environment, in addition to other adverse consequences.

This was the submission by Kayode Olagunju, an Assistant Corps Marshal (ACM) in the Federal Road Safety Corps {FRSC} and Zonal Commanding Officer, Sokoto, at the Club Project Luncheon and Investiture of 2nd Club President of Rotary Club of Epe Metropolitan District 9110, held in Lagos, recently.

Speaking on The Advent of Electric Vehicles and the reality on the Nigerian Oil Economy, Olagunju dismissed the twin fears that embracing the EV project would undermine the country’s earnings from oil and that there would not be adequate infrastructure to back up investments in the area.

He explained that the benefits accruable to the country from embracing EV far outweighs the challenges, because the likely impact on oil presently and even in decades to come, is minimal even as he posited that the demands for the ICE vehicles and EVs will coexist for decades to come.

The Zonal Commander cited forecasts which showed that global oil consumptions would average 101.45 million barrels per day in 2019 and 102.93 million in 2020, with a ratio of approximately 80 percent for crude oil and 20 percent for natural gas liquids. He further noted that about 55 percent of this is consumed by the transportation sector, 35 percent is for industrial use and the remainder accounted for by other categories, such as electricity.

“We have to make conscious efforts to reduce the number of ICE vehicles and replace them with EVs. Nigeria is committed through the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to reduce greenhouse gas emission by 20 percent unconditionally, and up to 45 percent with international support. EVs are eco-friendly and will assist in meeting our national de-carbonisation targets.

“A huge sum, in the realm of N1tn. is spent on fuel subsidies by the Nigerian government annually. A gradual shift from ICE vehicles to EVs will help in freeing a lot of this fund for developmental purposes. It is also noteworthy that some countries have set targets for the stoppage of sales of new gasoline {petrol} and diesel cars. These include Britain (2040); France (2040), India (2030) and Norway (2025).

“Electric cars are actually more economical in operations and maintenance. Owelle (2018) revealed that it takes less than N300 to recharge a vehicle for a range of 500 kilometres compared to over N4, 000 with petrol or diesel. Also, there are no moving engine parts to repair in electric vehicles, thus eliminating expensive maintenance/ mechanic bills.”

Dr. Olagunju recommended that the National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC) should drive the EV project in Nigeria, by partnering with universities, research institutes and manufacturers, both locally and internationally, in order to ensure that the country joins the train.

Also recommended was a public-private-partnership (PPP) involving stakeholders, including automotive companies with a deadline for the local production of the vehicles 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,” Olagunju suggested.