How Entrepreneurs Can Pioneer a Sustainable Electric Car Industry in Africa

While Africa is still struggling to have stable electricity, build crude oil refineries and build Assembling-plants for petrol-powered cars, a Tesla electric car recently made a record 1078 km distance on a single charge. Some people still think Electric cars are the future but the truth is that we are already in the era of electric cars. Petrol powered cars are already becoming obsolete.

Electric Car Revolution

There is an electric-car revolution currently going on in the Scandinavian. Norway which is blessed with an enormous oil reserve, has over 100,000 electric cars, while Sweden has over 10,000. Finland’s 1,039-number even comes in below Estonia, where there are already about 1,200 electric cars and vans on the road. Finland has posted a goal: to have 250,000 electric vehicles on the road by the year 2030.

In November of 2016, there were 540,000 electric cars on the road in the USA. According to Forbes, in 2016 alone, 507,000 electric cars were sold in China, a 53% increase from 2015. Meanwhile, 222,200 units were sold in Europe, a 14% increase; and 157,130 units were sold in the United States, a 36% increase from the prior year.

Knowing all these: that Electric vehicles could represent 40% of auto sales and 30% of the global car parc in 20 years, knowing this could be disruptive to petroleum demand — a main source of revenue of African power houses like Nigeria and Angola, by 2030. I am forced to ask “How can Africa countries be part of this development?”

Electric Cars in Africa

In Africa, according to IEA publication South Africa is the only county that has made a significant advancement in the use of electric cars. The stock of electric cars in the country climbed from 30 all-electric cars in 2013 to about 50 in 2013, and as of December 2015, there were about 290 plug-in electric cars registered, consisting of 170 all-electric cars and 120 plug-in hybrids. All the plug-in hybrids were registered in 2015 and according to EVsales, BMW South Africa has plans to introduce electric car sales totaled 80 units during the first three months of 2016.

It’s obvious Africa is being left behind again due to lack of foresight of its governments. Most countries if not all have government incentives or subsidies to promote electric cars but Africa countries do not. African entrepreneurs have to come to the rescue – incentive or no incentive. Most of them have succeeded in business without any help from the government and can pioneer a rapid growth electric car industry in Africa.

The Concept is Simple

Two major trends in energy usage that are expected for future smart grids are: Large-scale decentralized renewable energy production through solar energy system. Emergence of battery electric vehicles as the future mode of transport.

Firstly, the use of renewable energy sources such as solar energy is accessible to a wider population because of the falling cost of solar energy panels. Industrial sites and office buildings harbour a great potential for solar energy panels with their large surface on flat roofs. Examples include warehouses, industrial buildings, universities, factories, etc. This potential when exploited will enable African countries bypass their inefficient national grid and develop a future smart grid system of renewable energy.

Africa experience good amount of sun shine throughout the year, meaning we can generate enough solar power to charge the batteries of an electric car throughout the year so two sustainable business types can be built around this natural resource: the business of installation of solar-powered charging ports in the home of electric cars owners as they buy their car, and the business of building and running car parks with charging pots powered by solar panels around factories and office building where owners of electric cars can park and charge their cars while at work. An entrepreneur can also install charging ports in the car parks of public, government or private building too. All that is needed is a good deal with the owners of the properties.

So entrepreneurs, Africa needs you to lead this ‘leapfrogging’ or ‘disrupting’ or whatever you want to call it. Africa needs an ‘Elon Musk’ kind of entrepreneur right now to start building the company that will transport Africa for the future.

It is simple: you can easily calculate how much extra solar electricity you’ll need to charge your car. Here’s an example: the 2014 Nissan Leaf, an all-electric vehicle, has a combined fuel economy rating of 30 kWh/100 miles – this means the Leaf requires 30 kWh of electricity to drive 100 miles. If you drive 25 miles on an average day, that means you’re using approximately 7.5 kWh of electricity per day – or just over 2,700 kWh of electricity in a given year.

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One thought on “How Entrepreneurs Can Pioneer a Sustainable Electric Car Industry in Africa

  1. Pingback: Elon Musk is an African American and a Genius | SciTech Africa

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