Electric vehicles for public transport coming – Bawumia

  Fri, 29 Sep 2023
Headlines Electric vehicles for public transport coming – Bawumia

Government is working on a policy framework to move public transportation from a dependence on petroleum fuels to electric vehicles, Vice President Bawumia has disclosed.

“Where I want to see us go in the next few years is to move public transport completely from a dependence on petrol and diesel to fully electric vehicles. That is really where Ghana ought to go. And it is doable. We ought to move away from petrol and diesel to electric vehicles as a matter of policy,” Dr Bawumia stated on Wednesday September 27, 2023 when he visited the offices and assembly plant of Solar Taxi, a wholly Ghanaian start up engaged in the assembly and manufacture of electric cars, motorcycles, buses and battery packs for electric cars.

Among the top 3 Electric Vehicle (EV) manufacturing companies in Africa, Solar Taxi, founded in 2019, with a staff strength of 113 (90% of whom are women) and an average age of 26, can also convert petrol or diesel powered vehicles into electricity powered ones, with the technology to convert cars and buses also available, according to Jorge Appiah, CEO and Co-Founder. Solar taxi has assembled over 460 vehicles and sold over 500 vehicles, with orders for vehicles, battery packs and training in the maintenance of EVs coming from all over the continent.

Solar Taxi also operates a ride-hailing service, as well as a motorcycle leasing and vehicle sales model anchored on the Ghana Card. Through its bankers, the company provides financing options for its motorcycles, cars and buses, to be paid for over time, without collateral. All they require is a Ghanacard ID

Mr Appiah disclosed this while riding in one of the company’s EV buses, which can travel from Accra to Kumasi without need for a recharge of the batteries, with Vice President Bawumia and the heads of STC, Metro Mass, Aayalolo, as well as officials of the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Road Safety Commission.

Fuel, Transportation
“The whole issue of climate change, energy transition and moving away from dependence on fossil fuels to more green energy is very important for us because as you know, we spend a lot on fossil fuel. But the other thing that is very, very important for Ghanaian households and individuals is the high cost of transportation.

“If you look at the cost of transport in Ghana, there are two elements that dominate the pricing formula for transport: fuel and spare parts. Now, with what you are doing with electric vehicles generally, I mean, the fuel costs really becomes very minimal.

“And then because of the nature of the engines for electric vehicles, its very low maintenance. So with these two elements, you will reduce the cost of transport very significantly. So to deal with one of the aspects of the cost of living increase that Ghanaians are facing on a sustainable basis, we need to really, as a matter of policy, say that, look, let's move away from the dependence on fossil fuels, petrol and diesel, to electric vehicles and make sure we can make it happen. Are the charging stations available? Let's make it happen. It's possible,” he stated.

Acknowledging that it may not be a “smooth transition,” Vice President Bawumia nevertheless argued that “the benefit for Ghana - lower prices of transport, savings on foreign exchange, job creation, opportunities to train – far outweigh any such challenges.

“For example, you could really help the TVET institutions design a curriculum in terms of EV maintenance and so on, because as we move and see more adoption of EVs, you'll need more people who can maintain,” he suggested.

Pointing out that the cost of fuel and transport are the two of the main drivers of inflation, in Ghana, with a rise in them having implications on other variables like the exchange rate, cost of food and utilities, Dr Bawumia commended the founders of Solar Taxi for their commitment to entrepreneurship.

“We as a country really have to believe that it is possible to leapfrog many of the advanced countries in the area of technology. In the area of electric vehicle manufacturing, I think we have a bit of a comparative advantage in Africa and in Ghana compared to the more advanced countries.

“But what really will make it happen is people who have the ideas, who have the dedication like you, who have thought through this, who value chain in this whole enterprise. You have been able to put something together. From our point of view as a country, we are very interested in your success. Very, very, very interested. And we are even more delighted that it is the youth who have taken up the mantle of entrepreneurship. We as government will collaborate with and provide the support you and others like you need to deal with any bottlenecks,” the Vice President assured.

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