By Daniels Ekugo
Otunba Niyi Adebayo, Minister of Trade and Investment, Hajiya Maryam Katagum, Minister of State, Trade and Investment, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Works and Housing Development, were among dignitaries who witnessed on Friday, the unveiling of Hyundai Kona Electric Car.
Kona is the first ever electric car assembled in Nigeria.
The Ministers could not hide their excitement with the launch of the vehicle, which they said has opened up vistas of hope and opportunities for Nigeria and the West African subregion through employment generation and protection of the environment.
Otunba Niyi Adebayo, noted the significance of the event.
He said it was to inform automotive stakeholders and the public that Stallion Group is the pioneer producer of the Made-in-Nigeria Electric Vehicle (EV) called Kona.
He said the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investment, in collaboration with the National Automotive Design and Development Council plans for a migration from the use of conventional vehicles (powered by Fuel and Diesel) to alternative powered vehicles, in consideration of environmental degradation caused by global warming.
“Another benefit of this vehicle to the automotive industry is the reduction of queues at filling stations, most especially during times of scarcity. I am sure most of you can relate to that. All that will be required is setting up
charging stations in our respective homes, at strategic locations like shopping malls, event centres and other social and economic clusters in major cities and subsequently nationwide. The National Automotive
Design and Development Council is working on this” he said.
The Minister lauded the National Automotive Design and Development Council for its efforts in the establishment of the pioneer electric vehicle charging stations in University of Nigeria, Nssuka, University of
Lagos and the Usman Danfodiyo University, Sokoto.
He noted that electric cars, trucks and buses are now being built globally, adding that their advantages in terms of zero emission of greenhouse gases, less components to service and maintain, will make them suitable for a developing economy like Nigeria.
“On behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria, I commend Stallion Group for this bold step considering the current global challenge caused by covid-19 and want to encourage them to keep investing in the expansion of Electric Vehicles and human capacity development in cooperation with the National Automotive Design and Development Council” he added.
Babatunde Fashola, while commending the Stallion Group for achieving the feat of producing first ever locally made electric car in Nigeria, noted that the resuscitation of the Volkswagen assembly plant in Lagos shows the power, commitment and power of consistency which is the hallmark of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
He assured that his ministry is committed to rehabilitating and reconstruction of over 13, 000 road networks across the country for easy and convenient travel by motorists.
Mallam Jelani Aliyu, the Director-General of National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC), said the launch of Hyundai Kona EV is significant because it is a drive towards industrialisation, through leveraging advanced technology.
According to Aliyu, the government plans to replicate the massive improvement the cell phones technology brought to the economy through the auto industry.
“This is also what we strategize to do to the automotive sector, to empower and promote the integration of advanced technology in the mobility solutions produced and used in the country so as to dramatically enhance the lives of all Nigerians.
“Advanced technology will allow vehicles that are safer, much more efficient, and very very low maintenance cost. For example, an EV car has thousands less parts than a conventional petrol or diesel engine, so it has far fewer part that can go wrong” he added.
Aliyu also disclosed plans to start an electric vehicle technology transfer program in collaboration with three universities.
“We are starting with the Hyundai Kona EV. WE have built 6 automotive training centres, which we shall leverage in EV technology transfer.
“The NADDC is working on a Vehicle Finance Scheme that will enable Nigerians to easily own and drive these technologically advanced vehicles such as this Kona EV. We have reached an advanced stage of discussion with JAIZ and Zenith banks and as soon as we receive the necessary approvals, we shall deploy the program.
“Our target is to have 30 percent of all passenger cars produced in Nigeria be electric by 2025. The EV pilot program will allow us to gather the necessary empirical data needed towards an EV Policy which will further enhance investment into their production and create its sustainability” he said.
Inuwa Kashifu Abdullahi, the Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) also lauded the actualization of the electric vehicles in the country, saying that innovation is the only way to create prosperity and get the country out of its present situation.
He said South Korea enjoys the present status of economic prosperity through innovations.
“20 years ago South Korea was not as good as Nigeria, but today they are one of the leading countries in the world because of innovations”
Gaurav Vashisht, Head, Sales and Marketing, Hyundai Group, reeled out the unique features
Hyundai Kona saying it is designed to provide maximum comfort for the Nigerian motoring public.
Vashisht said the Kona is a subcompact SUV, which drew its name from a western district in the island of Hawaii.
According to him, Kona has a range of 482 kilometres once fully charged, adding that standard charging time is 9 hours, 30 minutes.
Vashisht said Kona came with 64 kilowatt battery capacity with five year warranty.