The Nigerian EV Situation
The electric vehicle industry in Nigeria is very nascent. The issue that has been raised over and over again is that Nigeria is not ready for electric vehicles deployment. This seemed true and only compounded by the fact that there is no formal policy or regulation created by the government to back the electric vehicle industry. Infact, when a senator proposed a bill for EV regulation to the senate, they called it irrelevant (Nigerian Senate rejects Ben Bruce’s Electric Car Bill, says it’s “irrelevant”) Critics mentioned that Nigeria’s oil fueled economy and dependence on oil as major economic resource is a significant cause of the bill rejection. However, the private sector has taken a lead in championing electric vehicle business models as they try to deploy solutions for the market. To maximize profit, few electric vehicle companies have implemented various strategies according to the environment and market.
Partnership between EV Automotive Companies and Solar Charge Point Operators
South Africa’s case in Point
In my study, I have observed a business model which I will speak about in detail during the course of this article. I first noted the trend with South Africa’s unique partnership with automobiles and charging infrastructure service providers. The company involved – GridCars (Home | GridCars) gets into a unique agreement with automobile companies retailing electric vehicles to provide charging infrastructure within the locations where their customers live and along the routes they ply regularly. This simple collaboration, increased the automobile company’s value offering and killed the range anxiety issue faced by EV users as customers have access to a charging infrastructure near them. Consequently, this increased customer’s interest in electric vehicles thereby tripling sales for the automobile companies. GridCars even go as far as offering overnight charge service to some of the cusromers.
Collaboration between Electric Taxi Hailing Companies and Solar Companies for Charging Point Establishment
Nigeria’s Case in Point
A very interesting EV business model which can skyrocket the deployment of electric vehicles in Nigeria is a partnership which is similar to that observed in South Africa between Automobile retail companies and EV charge point service providers. In this case it is a collaboration between EV taxi hailing companies and solar companies to provide solar charging infrastructure. At this time, there is one example of this partnership existing successfully in Nigeria which is a testimonial to how this model (EV automobiles and solar charge point operators) can disrupt the EV business space in Nigeria.
As I will describe below, what makes this sort of partnership interesting is the fact that the solar company involved has a minigrid deployment service as part of it’s business plan. I will explain why this is important.
A practical Example of this Collaboration
In August 2020, a popular fleet motorcycle taxi hailing company, MAX NG launched its e-motorcycles , the MAX E Series which has 1500mAh battery life and a running speed of 60km/h MAX. They partnered with a Solar company – Rubitec Industries which also has minigrid power stations across the country to provide solar powered charging and swapping stations for the e-bikes. This is already operational in Ogun State Nigeria. It is interesting considering the role that electric vehicles can play for a minigrid power station. The batteries used for the fleets of the motorbikes will charge from the mini-grid. This will draw a flexible and substantial load of electricity that can provide an income stream for the mini-grid. Additionally, passenger taxi hailing giant – Uber which has huge presence in Nigeria recently announced their plans to electrify their cars in 2030 (Uber says it will offer rides only in electric vehicles in US, Europe by 2030 – CNN). When Uber extends this initiative to Nigeria, this model will greatly aid their intention.
Why is this sort of partnership mostly important?
As I mentioned earlier in this article, there is no formal policy or regulation backing the electric vehicle sector in Nigeria. This of course has caused some setback to the full deployment of electric vehicles in the country due to lack of incentives or any of the other perks that come with full government endorsement and support.
But there is an interesting perspective on this issue that everyone else is missing – there is a robust policy and regulation for renewable energy development including mini grids in Nigeria. In fact mini-grids have its own dedicated policy and regulation – the NERC’s 2016 Mini Grid Regulation.
This sort of partnership is important because the huge governmental support that mini-grid has received in Nigeria is very enabling for electric vehicles deployment.
This is because minigrid companies in Nigeria have struggled to be bankable. Most of them require an anchor load to make sense of the business model. Infact, according to a report by Nigeria’s rural Electrification Agency and Rocky Mountain Institute, minigrid companies in Nigeria have reportedly created small manufacturing businesses in rural communities they work in where the equipment can serve as anchor load with the beneficiaries paying back in installments (rea.gov.ng/Nigeria_MinigridInvestmentBrief_171202-V2.pdf).
Therefore, a new business model could be in the offing as a result of the collaboration between e-taxi hailing companies and solar companies. This model is Minigrid companies adopting three wheeler EVs through a rent to own community scheme as additional revenue source. I share more details below.
Minigrid Companies adopting Electric Vehicles as a means of Additional Revenue
According to IRENA (Electric-Vehicle Smart Charging – Innovation Landscape Brief (irena.org)), EVs represent a paradigm shift for both the transport and power sectors, with the potential to advance the decarbonisation of both sectors by coupling them. Nigeria’s minigrid sector is rising by the day. According to a World Bank report (documents1.worldbank.org/curated/en/352561512394263590/pdf/ESM-dNigeriaMiniGridsCaseStudyConfEd-PUBLIC.pdf), there are 11 minigrids in the country which represents a 17% growth from 2005 to 2015. The growth recorded has been as a result of massive government support through a clear policy and regulation. One of the main challenges of Minigrids is that they are costly to install, and often have a low electricity demand from domestic customers. This makes it hard to achieve commercial viability without ‘anchor’ loads.
How it will Work
With this noted rise of minigrids across the country, more opportunities exist for collaboration with electric vehicle retail or taxi hailing companies. Electric vehicles can support minigrid companies by the addition of more productive electricity loads to the system and batteries can create additional electricity storage.
Minigrid companies can partner with more automobiles companies to provide charging solutions under a battery swap model. The revenue from battery charging service can augment direct electricity sales reducing payback periods and making mini-grid assets bankable. Additionally, minigrid companies can create a new revenue stream by setting up three wheeler electric vehicles rent to own services for community members where they work. These EV tricycles will play a great role supporting public mass transportation and also serve as anchor load for the minigrid. The minigrid company provides battery swapping services for the tricycles and can store power in stationery batteries. It’s a win win situation as the minigrid company, provides economic development opportunity in the community and at the same time improves their bankability through anchor loads.
Increased Capacity for V2X Services
In no time, minigrid companies could start V2X services with a pilot V2G program as they already have some of the necessary requirements and increased capacity.
There are massive opportunities for electric vehicle deployment in Nigeria. These models shared will ease up the process. If explored accordingly, it will improve economic development through job creation and help us attain a Climate Smart Society.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Glory’s life goal is to be a positive part of people’s lives and make good impact. She’s passionate about economic development of Nigeria and work in the field of renewable energy and environmental sustainability to promote Nigeria’s economic growth through job creation and education. She is the founder of Climate Smart Nigeria which promotes Climate Change Education in Nigerian institutions and provide capacity building on renewable energy technologies. Recently she established the Renewable Energy Technology Training Institute (RETTI) where she is also the Chief Instructor. The institute grooms the next generation of efficient installers and entrepreneurs with a focus on women who will serve as a competent workforce for the renewable energy industry and provide solutions to Nigeria’s prevalent energy problems as entrepreneurs.
Under Glory’s leadership, RETTI recently lauched THE RETTI Virtual University (RVU), Africa’s first online courses platform for affordable and easy access solar education with eight pilot courses to assist people wanting to get into the energy sector especially renewables.
Glory recently received the Florence School of Regulation’s – Lights on Women Award as one of four women out of 150 women from 64 countries. This award will granted her a featured interview with the FSR and a scholarship to study the course – #Electric #Vehicles (EV), a Power Sector Perspective and expand her knowledge about how EVs, #Charging #Infrastructure and the #V2X (Vehicle to Everything) concept will change the face of electricity and transportation.
Glory has published four books to promote the knowledge of climate change and renewable energy; Something is happening; Our world is changing; Understanding the Basics of Climate Change– for Secondary Schools – The Concept and Science of Climate Change – for the general adult public, A short thriller story – The Year Ran Mad – which depicts the impact of climate change on livelihood for Primary schools and The Girl who saw tomorrow, a short novel for secondary school –bit.ly/rettiM
Glory can consult for African government entities about regulation for Electric Vehicles.
MORE ABOUT GLORY
She is the recipient of several local and international awards and recognitions which include (a) Nigerian Star from the US Mission in Nigeria (2018), (b) The Nigerian Energy Champion Prize from the Nigerian Energy Awards (2015), (c) President Obama’s Mandela Washington Fellowship Award (2015), (d) The Young Energy Professional of the Year Award by Nigeria Energy Awards (2018), (e) A Foremost Woman in Renewable Energy award recipient (2017); (f) Environmental Award of Excellence, Environmental Community Development group (2014) In April 2019, Glory was selected
as one of 15 African female business leaders to attend United States Government’s launch of the OPIC 2X
Africa and meet with advisor to President of USA – Ms. Ivanka Trump and the Ethiopian President – Ms Sahle-Work Zewde.
In the course of her work she has met and shared platforms with a number high profile personalities and leaders at the national and international levels, including President Barack Obama, US Senator Chris Coons, Advisor to President Trump, Ms Ivanka Trump, Gov. Jack Markell of Delaware USA, Ethiopian President – Ms Sahle-Work Zewde, The USG Undersecretary for Energy – Mr Mark Menezes and former Vice President Ebitu Ukiwe of Nigeria.
She is a consultant for Nigeria’s largest renewable energy event, the Nigerian Alternative Energy Expo. She was a former Vice President of the Mandela Washington Fellowship Association of Nigeria (MWFAAN), and is currently an active member. She’s an alumna of Abia State University, Nigeria, The Lagos Business School, University of Delaware, USA, European Energy Institute and The Florence School of Regulation, Italy.