Nigeria has unveiled its Electrical Vehicle (EV) pilot project in what is believed to be part of its efforts geared towards harnessing the inherent benefits of renewable energy.

The project was developed by the ministry of power, with the financial support of the European Union (EU), the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), within the framework of the Nigerian Energy Support Programme (NESP).

The pilot project was unveiled at Gbamu-Gbamu, one of the mini-grid sites supported by NESP during its first phase, and has produced insights on the potentials of EVs in rural and peri-urban communities, official of the ministry of power said.

At the unveiling of the Electric Vehicle Opportunities in Rural and Peri-urban Communities ceremony which was held in Lagos, the acting director of renewable and rural power access department in the ministry, Mr. Abubakar Dapshima, said the project is a dream come true for the ministry. 

He said that the relevance of the EV pilot project at the Gbamu-Gbamu solar mini-grid community cannot be over emphasised, explaining that the objective is to showcase the opportunities and impact electric mobility synergised with solar mini grid projects bring to communities.

“The project has thus far revealed great benefits that cut across economic and environmental aspects, to both the community dwellers and the mini-grid developers”, he said.

Also speaking, the executive director, Rural Electrification Agency, Barka Sajou, encouraged investors to explore the solar mini-grid sector. He stressed however that a major challenge to the sustainability of the sector is the adoption of mini-grids for productive use activities.

“To resolve this, the Rural Electrification Agency, with support from NESP, continues to support mini-grid developers to scale-up sustainable solutions for the sector”, he added.

In her own remarks, the head of section, Green and Digital Economy at the EU delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms. Inga Stefanowicz, said the EU’s support within the framework of NESP aims to create an open market for more investments in the renewable energy market in Nigeria in order to advance access to reliable and affordable electricity in Nigeria, especially in the disadvantaged areas of the country.

Ms. Stefanowicz pointed out that EU is also keen on promoting initiatives aimed at boosting energy demand in the solar mini-grid space including the use of electric vehicles.

The director-general of the National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC), Mr. Jelani Aliyu, in his comments, restated the agency’s commitment to promoting investment in the automotive sector.

“It is therefore, an excellent development that electric motorbikes are already being deployed and tested in rural mini-grid communities, revealing huge potential for the role of electric mobility across Nigeria”, he further explained.

Recently, the agency enabled and promoted the assembly of the first Electric Vehicle in Nigeria, the Hyundai Kona EV and is now working on strategies to scale and mainstream EVs across Nigeria.

In the first phase of NESP, the programme provided capital in-kind grants to support the development of six solar mini-grids in rural communities providing clean electricity to approximately 16,000 people across five states in the country.

Nigeria has up to 100 operational NESP mini-grid sites which have extra or additional power to give. The officials said NESP is trying to increase productive usage in these places to increase social activities, economic activities and improve livelihood.

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