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Affordability Of Electric Cars: How Visible ?

In this report, Senior Correspondent,  Amos Anwule, examines the country’s preparedness or otherwise to get rid of internal combustion engine  cars   in  line   with Paris Agreement.

Recently, Sparrows Dynamics, facilitators of innovative automobile care, launched in Lagos Nigeria, a decarbonising service for motorists by introducing a hydrogen-powered carbon cleaning machine developed with advanced technology. The machine has the capacity to flush out up to 75% of carbon deposits that prevent automobile engines from running smoothly. That is good news, but the world’s larger project is to get rid of internal combustion engine (ICE) cars. 

Globally, the hazardous effects of Climate Change (Global Warming) have been noted with great concern. Various governments of different countries are already stepping up a variety of action plans to get rid of the rise in the average surface temperature on earth.

Experts in climatology submit that the main cause of global warming is traceable to the use of fossil fuels which releases carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the air. These gases trap heat in the atmosphere with a chain of effects on our ecosystem – rising sea levels, severe weather conditions, droughts etc. Other causes of global warming include human activities such as farming, bush burning, deforestation etc. These produce different volumes of greenhouse gases.

While many developed countries have mapped out action plans in the war against climate change, Nigeria as a signatory to the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (referred to as Paris Agreement) is yet to come up with any notable official policy or programme to tackle it and its devastating effects in an environment that is already deeply polluted.

Before the close of 2017, some countries announced different dates and plans to do away with petrol and diesel cars. For example, the United Kingdom has unveiled plans to stop the production of new ICE cars from 2040. The UK government maintains that by the set date, will not carry on with petrol and diesel cars because of the damage that they cause to people’s health and the planet.

China, a heavily industrialised country is already making grandiose plans to checkmate the menace of pollution resulting from ICE cars.

It plans to boost the development of electricity and hybrid plug-in vehicles. Other countries that have fixed timelines to do away with petrol and diesel cars include Scotland, 2032; France, 2040; Norway, 2025; The Netherlands, 2030; Germany, 2030. According to the International Energy Agency, Austria, Denmark, Japan, Ireland, Portugal, Spain etc have set official target for electric cars.

The United States of America does not have a federal policy in this matter but some of its states have set some policy goals. Observers are of the view that it is going to be a herculean task for a country like Nigeria that has just come out of recession; to take any bold step because of its financial and many other limitations. To get rid of ICE cars, the country must improve the generation, transmission distribution of electric power supply.

Nigeria, which at some point flaunted its leadership position in the African Continent is severely backward in the area of developing sufficient electric power supply.

The country relies heavily on the use of diesel and petrol generators with the consequent menace of fumes, which worsens the global warming situation. Experts agree that ICEs are the main sources of emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases – giving birth to global warming.

The task of replacing petrol and diesel cars with electric ones is clearly a herculean task. According to the managing director of J3 Consulting Limited, Michael Onuoha, “The proposed phasing out of petrol and diesel cars is one that would impact seriously on the economy of oil producing countries because automobiles account for a significant volume of petroleum sold in the global market.” If the ICE cars are taken away, it will have a notable impact on the price of oil. Nigeria will be adversely affected since its economy depends largely on oil.

African countries are likely to provide a huge market for the large numbers of vehicles that will be flushed out of the developed countries of the world which will create much environmental hazards.

The Nigerian environment is already polluted as it ranked third  most vulnerable according to the 2016 Maple soft Climate Change Vulnerability Index. Today, people living in the country are battling with the fumes from generators and vehicles. What could be the way out for Nigeria?

 There is a media hype that the use of electric cars will put global warming under control; but some experts argue that the emissions from diesel buses, lorries and trucks will still be there. According to them, even the electric cars also emit green house gases through their brakes and tyres.

The first challenge for Nigeria in the shift to the use of electric cars is its ability to provide sufficient electric power supply needed for the electric cars to recharge. A good number of developed countries have thousands of public recharging points. Available indices show that Nigeria is still gravely corrupt which can hamper the project of shifting to the use of electric cars.

At the moment, Nigeria is saddled with a myriad of problems; as a result, the global dream of phasing out ICE cars is not likely to be in the front burner. The country requires much more time than the comity of nations envisages.




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