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Manufacturers rev up electronic vehicles plans in Nigeria amid cost worries 

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More players are springing into Nigeria’s electronic vehicles industry with plans to roll out thousands of locally assembled electric vehicles in the country starting next year even as concerns mount over the affordability of such vehicles to average Nigerians.  

Driven by high optimism that the hike in the price of petrol and the government’s insistence that there is no more fuel subsidy, are enough motivation for Nigerians to embrace electronic vehicles, the EV manufacturers are planning big for the market.

For them, it is time for every Nigerian to start considering an EV as their next vehicle given the current price of fuel and the volatility that may keep the price going higher.  

One of the EV manufacturers, SAGLEV, said its 5000sqm Assembly Plant located in Ikorodu Lagos which is expected to begin production in December 2023, will be assembling 2,500 electric vehicles annually on one shift and the plan is to increase it to 2 shifts to produce 5,000 annually.  

Similarly, another mobility company with its plant located in Abuja, Possible Electric Vehicle Solution (Possible EVS), said its manufacturing plant, when fully operational, will produce up to 10,000 electric vehicles yearly—including minibuses, tricycles, pick-ups, and taxis—at its initial phase. 

Earlier, another EV Manufacturer with a plant in Enugu, Roxettes Motors, said its plan is to become Nigeria nay Africa’s Tesla equivalent, and with the full deployment of technology tools in the production process, will match Tesla EVs in the nearest future.

The company said its plant will be producing compact and subcompact cars, midsize sedans, SUVs, Buses, large Trucks, and luxury cars, for a wide range of clientele not only in Nigeria but all across Africa. 

While there are now many companies interested in producing EVs in Nigeria, one major factor has been the driving force according to a Director of PDX Innovation Hub, Mr. Gbenga Owolabi. This factor, which he believes will also attract more players to the industry, is the removal of fuel subsidy.  

According to him, with cheap fuel, no Nigerian would consider EVs, but with the removal of subsidy and fuel now selling at over N600, the EV makers are seeing an opportunity to present cheaper alternatives to Nigerians.  

Speaking with ThePressNG, Owoloabi who is a consultant in the EV ecosystem in Nigeria said with fuel subsidy removal, the uncertainties in the global market and the value of the naira would continue to drive petrol prices in Nigeria.  

The Chief Executive Officer of SAGLEV, Mr. Gbenga Faleye, indeed corroborated Owolabi that removing the fuel subsidy motivated the company to fast-track its commencement of EVs production in Nigeria.  

While Faleye believes that EVs like SAGLEV’s sedan going for N18 to N20 million is quite affordable compared with say a brand new Toyota Corolla selling for about N37 to N40 million, the fact that the majority of Nigerians are used to fairly used vehicles at far cheaper prices, raises the question of affordability of brand new EVs in the Nigerian market.

However, Owolabi noted that EVs are way cheaper than Tokunbo cars if the costs of maintenance are factored in.  

The beginning of the EVs revolution in Nigeria 

In 2021, Nigeria launched the first locally assembled electric vehicle, Hyundai Kona, from the stable of Stallion Motors. This followed the unveiling of the pilot program by the National Automotive Industry Design and Development Council (NADDC) in partnership with the Stallion Group and other stakeholders to roll out 100 solar-powered electric vehicle charging stations across Nigeria. 

The introduction of the Hyundai Kona opened a new vista of opportunities in the automotive industry as the world attempts to phase out petrol-powered vehicles in response to global climate change and concerted action against emissions. 

However, two years later, EVs are still very few on Nigerian roads. But with the fuel subsidy removal and the planned mass production of EVs in Nigeria by manufacturers, the coming years may see a surge in EVs on Nigerian roads.

The emergence of many players in the EV assembling industry may also lead to the introduction of competitive prices.  

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