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Ghana Holds Its 1st E-Mobility Conference & Exhibition Under The Drive Electric Initiative

Ghana has recently found itself in the admirable position of having excess generation capacity. According to Ghana’s Energy and Demand Outlook 2020, by the end of 2019, the installed electricity generation capacity available for grid power supply in the country was about 4,990 megawatts (MW). The peak load, however, was around 2,612 MW. The interesting part is the portion of the total dependable grid capacity which was 4,580 MW in 2019 and was therefore in excess of the peak load by a whopping 1,968 MW! To put that into perspective, that excess capacity is enough to meet Kenya’s current demand at peak times!

Ghana’s electricity generation mix includes 40% from hydro, just under 60% from thermal energy plants, and a little bit of solar. Ghana has a household electricity access rate of 86.63% and aims to have universal access by 2024. With a pretty high electrification rate compared to some other African countries, and all that excess generation capacity, Ghana’s Energy Commission is pushing hard for the adoption of EVs.

The Commission, in collaboration with the Ministry of Energy, launched the “Drive Electric Initiative” (DEI-Gh) in October 2019. The Commission is promoting the adoption of electric vehicles to create demand and drive the productive utilization of the excess electricity supply in the system. Last Friday, Ghana organized its 1st E-Mobility Conference and Exhibition under the Drive Electric Initiative. The theme of the inaugural conference was “E-Mobility In Ghana: Opportunities And Challenges.”

The Ghana electric vehicle scene is getting quite exciting and we have covered several developments in this space here on CleanTechnica. The Hyundai Kona EV was launched in Ghana last year. Egle Motors Ltd introduced the Ora Black Cat to the Ghana market earlier this year and has already sold over 20 units in Ghana. SolarTaxi Ghana is now offering more than 15 different EVs on lease or outright purchase options. On the infrastructure side, POBAD International has launched its public charging station in collaboration with Electricity Company of Ghana. A Ghanaian firm, Accraine, with offices in the United Kingdom and Ghana, has started supplying a selection of BEVs and PHEVs to customers in Ghana. They also retail and install charging equipment and related accessories. Kotey Logistics, a private transport and logistics company, is using fully electric buses in its operations.

Doris Edem Agbevivi, project coordinator of the Drive Electric Initiative in Ghana, says they decided to organize the first E-Mobility Conference to bring major stakeholders together to deliberate on the opportunities and challenges in the space. Doris has been driving electric since June of this year  She drove the Hyundai Kona initially as part of their collaboration with Hyundai to test-drive and showcase EVs in Ghana. She is now using the Ora Black Cat and she has been impressed with its performance so far. The Ora Black Cat is an important vehicle due to its price and decent range. It has a 33kWh battery pack and a 35 kW motor enabling a 220 km WLTP range.

The good news is that these small city EVs are starting to find their way to Africa faster than I thought. The Black Cat is in a group of affordable EVs I like to call “ICE Killers.” I call them ICE Killers because they could land in Africa at prices comparable to used ICE vehicles that dominate imports into these markets and will be able to displace a good portion of used ICE vehicle imports and could help catalyze this transition.

“I have been driving an electric vehicle since June 2021, the Hyundai KONA and the ORA Black Cat EV. These cars have been attracting a lot of attention on the roads and through interactions with people, I realized they did not know there were now quite a number of EV  models in Ghana. They were also not aware that the number of charging stations is growing in Ghana,” says Doris. The conference also had an exhibition area to help raise awareness. Several EVs were on display and several EVSE providers also exhibited at the conference.

In his keynote address, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Minister For Energy, announced that Ghana’s Ministry of Energy is working closely with Ghana’s Ministry of Finance to remove import duties for fully electric vehicles to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles. The Ghanaian government sees the adoption of EVs as one of the major avenues to substantially reduce GHG emissions. They are therefore working hard to promote green and sustainable transport and also driving increased penetration of renewables in the long term.

There were two panel discussions held during the conference; the first panel, moderated by the chief director of the Ministry of Energy, focused on the opportunities for e-mobility in Ghana and was comprised of representatives from Ahenkorah and Partners, VRA, ECG, EPA, Bui Power Authority, and Egle Motors, who discussed the current excess capacity challenges, charging stations, current prices of EVs and the affordable prices on the market of ORA cars as well as tariffs and plans of companies to build smart cities.

The second panel, moderated by the DEI Project Coordinator, centered on “Challenges for E-Mobility in Ghana and Proposed Solutions.” Panelists were from GRA, DVLA, NIC, SOMOCO, NODOK Logistics, and Ministry of Transport. NODOK shared experiences at the port, with registration and insurance to which officials of such institutions responded and agreed to train their workers, build an HS code for EVs at the port and start working on insurance for electric vehicles. Ghana’s Ministry of Transport also made a presentation on policy issues.

The Ministry of Transport is working with several partners and stakeholders to develop Ghana’s EV policy. The EV Policy document is expected to be ready by end of the year. Ghana’s EV landscape is shaping up nicely and we will stay close to all the great developments in this market. It’s really good to see that affordable small EVs from China, such as the Ora Black Cat, are already pushing some sales in Ghana. These small affordable models with a decent real-world range of over 200 km will be key to the push to increase the penetration of EVs. A range of 200 km is more than adequate for most peoples’ daily requirements, helping ease range anxiety concerns.

All images courtesy of the Ghana Energy Commission

 
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Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai has been fascinated with batteries since he was in primary school. As part of his High School Physics class he had to choose an elective course. He picked the renewable energy course and he has been hooked ever since. At university he continued to explore materials with applications in the energy space and ending up doing a PhD involving the study of radiation damage in High Temperature Gas Cooled Nuclear Reactors. He has since transitioned to work in the Solar and Storage industry and his love for batteries has driven him to obsess about electric vehicles.

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