Since Ben Murray-Bruce, the senator representing Bayelsa East senatorial district and chairman of Silverbird Group drove his swanky electric Kia car to the company’s Man of the Year Awards in Lagos in 2015, very little has been heard of the car said to be capable of going 8 hours on a single charge.
But that is to be expected. If you live in Lagos with its legendary traffic where you drop off someone at the airport and he gets to London before your car crawls from Ikeja to Lekki, an electric vehicle does not seem practical, unless there is a charging station right after every Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s campaign poster.
The rest of the world though seems to be getting along with the electric vehicle (EV) revolution just fine, pretty much like Nigeria lags behind the world in most everything – well, except poverty rate. We’re the country to beat.
A new research by Wood Mackenzie, a global energy consultancy, finds that people around the world bought over 2 million units of electric vehicles in 2018, half of the sales came from China.
“This is despite [the fact] total Chinese vehicle sales in 2018 declined for the first time since China became a major force in automotive production,” Wood Mac said.
China buys more cars than any other country in the world, which is logical since they also have the most humans – and roads, and bridges and ego.
The Chinese bought over 28 million new cars which is even 3 percent lower than they bought in 2017. Nigerians bought less than 10,000 new cars in the same year.
Every year car makers produce about 80 million new units but even though more electric cars were sold in 2018 than any other year, it only came about 2.6% or 2.08million cars.
Competition for lead batteries could be blamed. Electric cars use lead batteries and the world now consumes more lead that it produces. Recycled lead in many African countries fall short of global standards, this could slow the growth of electric vehicles.
“Lithium-ion (or sometimes nickel-metal hydride) batteries provide the energy to power the EV, but the lead battery provides the energy to control the EV. This is analogous to the Li-ion battery doing the job of the fuel tank in a regular car, and the lead battery doing essentially the same job in both types of vehicle: controlling computer and vehicle management systems, electric power for navigation and infotainment systems, the lights, electric windows, safety sensors, wipers, etc.,” Wood Mac said.
The key difference is that EVs use smaller lead batteries than \regular internal combustion engine vehicles.
“Our research shows that lead batteries for battery-only EVs are typically 60% smaller than for an equivalent ICE vehicle and 35% smaller for a hybrid EV. Thus, lead consumption for batteries is reduced, but not eliminated, by EVs,” Wood Mac said.
Another factor that can slow mass roll-out of new electric cars, include the price of lithium-ion battery raw materials – crucially lithium, cobalt and nickel, Wood Mac said.
“Changes in the oil price and any additional legislation curtailing the use of ICE vehicles, such as some proposed total bans of ICE cars in certain cities around the world [will also determine the speed of EV adoption]. Many of these will be subject to unpredictable geopolitical influences in the coming year.”
Yet the organisation said the industry could turn the corner in 2019 as governments focus on promoting green technology.