Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan (ETP) targets 10% biofuel blends by 2030 and complete EV adoption by 2060. The removal of fuel subsidies aims to bolster the electric mobility sector as government and private initiatives work to promote EVs and charging infrastructure for a sustainable future. Samuel Ajala reports.
Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa with the sixth largest population worldwide. Over the next three decades, the United Nations expects Nigeria’s population is to increase from 216 million people to 375 million. This will make Nigeria the fourth most populous country after India, China, and the United States.
From 1971 to 2014, the transportation sector’s average yearly contribution to the country’s total CO2 emissions from fuel combustion was 48%. Based on the Energy Transition Plan (ETP), Nigeria’s transport sector accounts for 24% of in scope emissions, and in general, Nigeria is the fourth highest producer of carbon emissions (with 136,986,780 metric tonnes) in Africa as of 2021.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), there were about 11.8 million vehicles in Nigeria in 2018. Nigeria’s recently launched ETP aims at lowering transportation emissions and achieving 10% biofuel blends by 2030 and 100% electric vehicles by 2060. Compared to conventional fuel-powered mobility, electric mobility (E-Mobility) is a viable option for decreasing transport-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions due to the absence of a CO2-emitting combustion engine.
A new report expects the removal of the fuel subsidy to “substantially” stimulate the electric mobility sector in Nigeria. Experts have also been calling for massive adoption of electric vehicles to replace fossil-based vehicles, eyeing e-mobility as a leading way to build sustainable cities while slashing pollution and carbon emissions.
In an interview with energytransition.org, Praise Sakanwi, Chief Technology Officer and co-founder of Trekk Scotters said the recent increase in the price of petrol lead to a spike in demand for EVs in Nigeria.
Government and private sector bid to drive e-mobility
Like many other cities worldwide, Lagos, the most populous city in Africa, aspires to complete decarbonization by 2050. The initiative is part of a larger plan to accelerate the move to renewable energy sources and, as a result, help reduce carbon emissions.
As part of this switch, the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority is working on electricity-powered buses, service outlets and charging centres. Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu unveiled the first set of electric buses for the state’s mass transit scheme. The governor also promised to increase the fleet of electric vehicles in the state as part of the government’s effort to transform the state into a smart city.
Environmental challenges, specifically air pollution, can further be reduced by 2-wheel vehicles that are powered by lithium batteries or electric bicycles and scooters available for ride-sharing and lease.
Also, Sterling Bank recently launched Nigeria’s first publicly available EV charging station in Lagos. In this context, the bank’s Group Head for Renewable Energy and Transportation, Olabanjo Alimi, In an interview with energytransition.org, said Qore, a suite of renewable energy-powered transportation solutions, focuses on improving mobility services in Nigeria by providing affordable and cleaner transportation alternatives to petrol and diesel-powered vehicles.
Driving a sustainable city with e-mobility
Olabanjo said electrical mobility, especially mass transit solutions like buses, can help render cities more sustainable, reducing its high carbon emissions.
Praise noted that many countries in Europe and Africa have embarked on transitioning their major cities into eco-friendly cities. He backed a gradual change and said the transportation sector is the best place to start.
“First and last-mile transportation must become completely eco-friendly in our communities. This increased demand should also be used to educate more people on carpooling, ridesharing, electric mobility, and micro-mobility. The government can offer incentives and subsidies to local manufacturing companies and individuals who purchase and use electric or fuel-efficient vehicles.”
Bumpy road ahead
In an interview with energytransition.org, Duncan Byencit, lead of E-mobility portfolio at Clean Technology Hub noted that the challenges of electric vehicle adoption include finance, lack of awareness and advocacy, electricity, and charging infrastructure. She said this could be overcome through subsidization, boosting supply and easing the business environment. In particular she said Nigeria also needs to install charging infrastructure, battery recycling centres and subsidized renewable energy for people wanting to use them to achieve e-mobility.
Praise said lack of adequate infrastructure would slow down the adoption of e-mobility. In particular he outlined the need for the development of micro-mobility such as scooters and pedestrian lanes. “The design of major roads must now include micro-mobility and […]developing a solar grid for transportation that would power public EV charging and docking stations.”
Olabanjo noted a number of key challenges are slowing down the adoption of e-mobility in Nigeria. These include high entry cost, which can be solved by providing funding and fiscal incentives like removal of import duty and VAT, and limited EV charging facilities, among others.
He also noted that concerns about battery technology and recycling can be allayed by investing in research development, local manufacturing, and recycling technology. “Maintenance centres availability and accessibility will be taken care of by funding Vocational training for EV technicians. Last but not least, the absence of policy and regulatory framework which is a role the government can play by establishing a comprehensive EV policy framework.”
In conclusion, in the face of Nigeria’s surging population and escalating carbon emissions, the nation’s pursuit of electric mobility through its ETP reflects a proactive approach. The removal of fuel subsidies and concerted efforts by various stakeholders has made the path towards sustainable transportation and reduced pollution look promising. However, to effectively accelerate this transportation overhaul, policy and regulatory frameworks need to be adjusted.