Some Nigerian companies are building tomorrow’s transport

Arthur Energy Company has developed a tricycle which runs entirely on solar energy. The solar-powered tricycle does not just hold an advantage over its conventional counterpart in how clean it is – it also trumps it in terms of performance. Possessing a 100 amps battery with a lifetime of 3-5 years, the solar-powered tricycle can travel distances of up to 170 kilometres on a single charge.

According to Heinrich Boll Foundation, the benefits are obvious: it is clean and non-polluting with zero emissions, and also doesn’t need fuel, the cost of which has been rising in Nigeria.

All of this translates into enormous cost savings for the tricycle operators: although a solar-powered tricycle costs N950,000 compared to the conventional tricycle which costs about N550,000, the absence of fuelling costs and the lower maintenance costs far outweigh the cost difference between the two models.

”A conventional tricycle operator makes about N7000 daily and spends about N1500 daily on fuel. He also spends about N40,000 annually on maintenance of his tricycle. When you take away the cost of fuelling and steep maintenance costs with the solar-powered tricycle, it gives him the power to earn up to N400,000 more yearly. This is almost the cost of a new conventional tricycle,” said Arthur Okeyika , the founder of the outfit.

Similarly, Oldang International Limited has launched its unique brand of electric and solar powered transportation which a successful large-scale operation could help Nigeria’s quest to attain to reduce pollution by dirty fuels and ramp up Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 13 on Climate action.

The company says the projects are initiated to support United Nations emission free vehicles goal, to provide bespoke solutions to the city transportation system and to also to add values to various business in Africa. The fleet includes solar powered tricycles, cars and even a cargo truck.

“Solar-powered tricycles are vehicles of the future as individual get to know the negative impact of fossil fuels on the environment, health. It also serves as a source of job creation to non-operators of the tricycle,” Olubunmi Oluwadare, managing director of Oldang.

The company says that the electric and solar-powered vehicle is a dual-powered vehicle which uses both electricity and solar. “It enjoys a continuous charging when on the move through the abundant sun ray in our country and store such power in the battery in a situation of continuous rain or change in climax power can be stored with either PHCN and Generator,” says the company.

A new technology comes with its own unique challenges and to avoid technical hitches, Oluwadare said the company will provide after sales services. The company also plans to train up to 200 electrical engineers who will transfer the technical knowledge to those willing to learn.

It will also provide spare parts for the new automobiles will be made available in all 36 states in Nigeria and via online ordering and delivery.

Okeyika who has set up an assembly plant in the town of Onitsha in Anambra State envisions that the solar-powered tricycle will create a value chain from the sourcing of components for its assembly, which is currently at 80% locally sourced, to solar charging and servicing stations for the tricycles – all of which will create lots of jobs.

But these operators are challenged with funding to scale operations and establish assembly plants. The model employed by some mini grid operators would now suffice, which is seeking grants to start off which will require drawing up good business plans and feasibility studies.


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