Easing Mobility with Tech in Africa webinar, hosted by European Technology Chamber, was held on Aug 17, to discuss various ways in which electric vehicles (EVs) can help create a sustainable transport market in Africa. Svetlana Nyameyo, EU Tech Chamber’s Coordinator for Africa Alliance, moderated the event, while Kassoum Coulibaly, Africa Alliance Board member, made the opening remarks. They were joined by a panel of experts in the EV space.
Overall, the presenters were hopeful for the EV market in Africa but pointed to several challenges and barriers blocking full EV adoption in the continent. The notable challenges include: Lack of government regulations, infrastructural constraints, lack of tax policies and investments, and consumer-side hesitancy due to poor economic outlook.
To tackle these challenges, African countries need to adopt policies that incentivize and subsidize EVs. If the common people view EVs to be cost-effective compared to the fuel-run vehicles, then they would be willing to make the switch.
The availability of clean energy is also a main concern in most African countries. But even in countries like Kenya, where 73% of the energy comes from renewable sources, there is no energy policy around tariff relaxations that can push people toward EV adoption.
Finally, Africa needs to build self-sustaining assembly lines for manufacturing EVs. Importing EVs only serves to deplete foreign reserves and, most crucially, the imported vehicles are not suited for driving on the African terrain.
Erick Mome Morro, Founder and Director of eMo Bodaboda, drew the audience’s attention to the infrastructural issues and hoped for more capital investments in serving the demand for EVs in Africa. He further called for cooperation between governments, battery manufacturers, and investors on those fronts.
CFO and Co-founder of BasiGo, Jonathan Green, shared that his company is incentivizing local bus owners to switch from diesel buses to the K6 electric buses by implementing a pay-as-you-drive pricing model, which offers bus owners and operators the opportunity to buy buses and pay for the battery and its charging on a per kilometer-driven basis.
Emile Fulcheri 埃米尔, CTO of StimaBoda, presented battery swapping as a more viable solution than electric charging stations. In reference to the benefits that this technology would bring, StimaBoda’s CTO said that it was cost-effective and would prove to save the motor vehicle drivers in fuel and other costs.
The market for EVs in Africa is wide open for investments. Challenges of various nature abound but tighter government regulations and generous incentivization could lead to greater EV adoption. These government measures will increase investor confidence, spur investments in road developments and EV manufacturing projects in Africa, and bring down the price of EVs, essentially, paving the way for greater consumer adoption.