The Federal Ministry of Power on Thursday in Lagos unveiled 10 electric-powered motorcycles manufactured by MAX Nigeria under its Electric Vehicle (EV) opportunities in rural and peri-urban communities in Nigeria.
The pilot project was funded by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, within the framework of the Nigerian Energy Support Programme (NESP).
The the motorcycles were deployed to Gbamu-Gbamu mini-grid solar community in Ogun to transport goods and agricultural produce under the pilot phase of the programme.
Mr Abubakar Ali-Dapshima, Director, Renewable and Rural Power Access Department, Federal Ministry of Power, said electric mobility was very important to the socio-economic development of rural and peri-urban communities.
“The objective of the project is to showcase the opportunities, and impact electric mobility synergised with solar mini grid projects, bring to communities.
“The project has thus far revealed great benefits that cut across economic and environmental aspects, to both the community dwellers and the mini-grid developers,” Ali-Dapshima, represented by Mr Phillip Abel, a senior official of the ministry, said.
Mr Barka Sajou, Executive Director, Rural Electrification Agency, urged investors to explore the solar mini-grid sector in the country.
Sajou noted that one major challenge to the sustainability of the sector was the adoption of mini-grids for productive activities.
“To resolve this, the REA, with support from NESP, continues to support mini-grid developers to scale-up sustainable solutions for the sector,” he said.
Mr Jelani Aliyu, Director General, National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC), reiterated the agency’s commitment to promoting investment in the automotive sector.
Aliyu noted that EVs was not just the future of transportation but a technology already in use and beginning a paradigm shift, even in Nigeria.
He said: “NADDC’s National Automotive Industry Development Plan (NAIDP), currently being implemented, captures the role of EVs in driving Nigeria’s economy.
“Recently, the agency enabled and promoted the assembly of the first Electric Vehicle in Nigeria, the Hyundai Kona EV, and is now working on strategies to scale and mainstream EVs across Nigeria.
“It is, therefore, an excellent development that electric motorbikes are already being deployed and tested in rural mini-grid communities, revealing huge potential for the role of electric mobility across Nigeria.”
On her part, Ms Inga Stefanowicz, Head of Section, Green and Digital Economy at the European Union Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, pledged the EU’s support to the project.
According to her, the EU’s support within the framework of NESP aims to create an open market for more investments in the renewable energy market in Nigeria.
She said this was in order to advance access to reliable and affordable electricity in Nigeria, especially in the disadvantaged areas of the country.
“The EU is also keen on promoting initiatives aimed at boosting energy demand in the solar mini-grid space including the use of electric vehicles,” Stefanowicz added.
Earlier, Mr Duke Benjamin, Head of Programme, NESP, said the programme had provided capital in-kind grants to support the development of six solar mini-grids in rural communities.
Benjamin, represented by Mr Olumide Fatoki, Head of Unit Sustainable Energy Access, NESP, said they were able to provide clean electricity to approximately 16,000 people across five states in Nigeria.
He said: “Nigeria has up to 100 operational mini-grid sites which have extra or additional power to give.
“Hence, NESP is trying to increase productive usage in these places to increase social activities, economic activities and improve livelihood.
“Data provided by the NigeriaSE4All platform (www.nigeriase4all.gov.ng) shows the possibility of 4,000 potential mini-grid sites that could be developed.
“In each of these mini-grid sites, EV projects could be applied and foster the economic development of the communities.”