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Mustapha Audu: Leapfrogging Towards Electric Vehicles Is Way Forward For Nigeria, Not CNG

Mustapha Audu says transitioning to electric vehicles is the way forward for Nigeria, as CNG-based technology will soon be obsolete.


APC chieftain and electric car manufacturer, Mustapha Audu, has said that transitioning to electric vehicles is the way forward for Nigeria, noting that CNG-based technology will soon be obsolete.

He said this during an interview with ARISE NEWS on Wednesday, following the president’s directive mandating all future vehicles, generators or tricycles acquisition by the government and its agencies to utilise either compresed natural gas (CNG), solar power or electric energy sources, in furtherance of Nigeria’s efforts to transition to cleaner energy, as CNG enabled vehicles have been adjudged to produce lower emissions.

“We honestly believe that CNG is at the end of its life shell. Yes it is cleaner, but CNG has five years to go. The world has decided that in five years, there will be no more production of CNG vehicles or in fact any internal combustion engine vehicles. That’s why leapfrogging towards electric vehicles is honestly the way forward. The president has made his pronouncement which is fantastic. The president also commissioned the largest lithium iron factory in Nigeria a couple of weeks ago. So, the president is working towards the energy transition program of the country.

“The technology is here and now. And what Nigeria is good at, we’re very good at leapfrogging technology. The technology for gas, for CNG is over. No one is investing in new technology, no one is investing in development. No one around the world, but everybody is investing towards electric vehicles.”

Audu said, “The government led by president Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu has initiated the presidential gas initiative. We produce electric vehicles, we’re the largest EV makers in the country and we honestly believe that going green, transitioning is the best way forward. We do know that Nigeria has an abundance of gas therefore there is a focus on CNG, but we honestly believe that our gas is better served towards industrialising the country, the manufacturing sector or even piping to Morocco to provide Europe with the much needed gas that they need. But until then, we are trying to find a way to have a good energy mix.”

He added, “As a private individual, we’ve just developed the largest electric vehicle factory in Nigeria and one of the largest in Africa, so there is an investment that is needed to be made and we are making it towards electric. Yes, gas has its limitations. Of course gas is produced in the south, getting it to the north requires transportation cost, logistical issues. Gas is also prized in dollar, so you have those knock on effects. But the truth is, the president has vision. The president and the vice president have a clear vision, so it is up to the team, the president’s team, to be able to execute this vision. So you have to look inwardly. How many of these agencies, how many ministries are patronising made in Nigeria vehicles, made in Nigeria cars. How many of these agencies and of course the appointees of government understand the actual renewed hope agenda and is implementing it. I believe that if every agency, every ministry, every department works toward this, there will be truly development towards cleaner energy of vehicles. And it’s not just in the EV sector. It’s across board. This is how the pressure on the dollar can be relieved. This is how we can truly grow as a nation. This is how we can meet our own commitment because Nigeria has an NDC, a National Determined Contribution or Quota that we have to meet towards clean energy.”

Speaking on if Nigeria will be able to meet the electricity needs for these electric vehicles in terms of expense and accessibility in the near future, he said, “The sun is abundant, you can actually use an abundant source of renewable replenishable energy to develop these vehicles. Some of our vehicles are connected to solar panels, our factories have solar panels powering them. You have all sorts of solar panels, black panels, different kinds of panels that can help you power these vehicles, whereas gas is produced locally in the south. So, in order to get the gas, in fact in order to even produce the gas, there’s cost in dollar, then getting the gas over to the north or other areas in the country there’s a challenge, but the sun is everywhere. You can make use of the sun. And then you’re reducing pressure on, yes CNG is cleaner energy but its not clean energy. There’s a difference between going cleaner and going towards clean. And what we’re saying is there is good investment in CNG but there needs to be investment that paripasu with the electric vehicle sector because Nigeria, whether we like it or not has to take the lead because if we don’t take the lead, other countries in a few years would be producing these vehicles and dumping them on us.

“Meanwhile in five years, no matter the investment that we make in CNG today, no other country in the world would be producing any CNG vehicle or even the components. So yes it is transition. Yes we have an abundance of gas, but is it the solution? It’s not the solution. It is a transitionary process that we must go through in order to get to where we need to get to. Therefore, why don’t we just invest in where we need to get to.”

Melissa Enoch

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