…Embarks on electric vehicle project

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By Moses Akaigwe

As many developed economies and leading vehicle manufacturers across the world make plans and set deadlines on the production of electric vehicles, Nigeria’s auto industry regulatory agency has given assurance that it is taking steps to ensure the country is not left behind by the “new energy vehicles.”

The Director-General of the National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC), Mr. Jelani Aliyu, disclosed recently that it has commenced talks with some auto makers with links to the Nigerian market towards the introduction of electric vehicles at the right time.

Aliyu, who led a delegation to South Africa recently, said NADDC had very fruitful discussions with the automotive manufacturers in that country, some of which have either set up functioning assembly plants in Nigeria, or are producing vehicles that are exported to Nigerian.

“With counties such as the United Kingdom and France setting out targets to phase out the sale of petrol and diesel powered vehicles, Nigeria must not be left behind, and NADDC is strategising the development of an electric vehicles policy to support the adoption of that technology in the country,” Aliyu said.

During the visit, the Director-General and his delegation discussed with a coalition of a original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), including BMW, Nissan, Ford, Volkswagen, Toyota and BAW South Africa.

While Ford and Nissan already have production operations in Nigeria BAW will from next month commence the assembly of buses and vans in Enugu in collaboration with BWA Nigeria (Transit Support Services Ltd, TSS), a division of ABC Transport.

He pointed out that one of the challenges the project would face in Nigeria is that of “general power availability in the country”, stressing, however, that with government’s various power projects and the involvement of private investors, solutions were likely to be found.

Aliyu explained: “Three important enabling factors must be acknowledged: One, is that the Nigerian Federal Government has now allowed the establishment of private sector-driven modular power generation. Nigeria is {also}blessed with high solar insolation that must be harnessed.”

Moreover, according to the Director General, “NADDC is now committed to collaborating with developers of automotive relevant sustainable energy solutions from both within Nigeria and without.”

The delegation also visited an Automotive Industrial Park in Rosslyn, South Africa, which a model for proposed NADDC Automotive Industrial Park in Nnewi, Kaduna and Oshogbo.

Aliyu explained that the engagement with automotive companies in South Africa was part of the strategy towards having their most modern models produced and made available in Nigeria.

Some countries and auto manufacturers with global network have recently set targets to phase out the production of vehicles that run on fossil {petrol and diesel} fuel. This set ripples around the globe, including Nigeria, with many analysts worried that unless urgent steps are taken in to embrace the technology, the world might leave Nigeria behind.

In China, which is the world’s biggest auto market, a policy is in place that requires auto makers to accelerate production of electric vehicles by 2019, and progressively increase the volume in the next few years.

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