Paving The Way For “Made In Ghana” E-Mobility Solutions

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The transition to electric mobility is now well underway around the world. In China, for example, the world’s largest vehicle market, fully electric car sales had 26% share of auto sales in September, and 35% had a plug. We see that the European EV market is also heating up. In Europe, fully electric car sales in September reached 16% of new car sales, and 24% of cars sold had a plug.

In Africa, the level of motorisation in general is still quite low. Only a handful of countries have motorization rates above 100 vehicles per 1000 people. The majority of countries have rates below 50 passenger vehicles per 1000 people. To put this into perspective, South Korea and Germany have rates above 500 passenger vehicles per 1000 people. The USA has an even higher rate that’s closer to 800 vehicles per 1000 people, according to a study by Siemens Stiftung. This presents a major opportunity for the majority on the continent to leapfrog straight into electric mobility and bypass fossil fuel vehicles.

For this to be achieved, Africa needs to chart its own path, underpinned by locally developed sustainable and affordable electric mobility solutions. These must be developed and designed with local use cases and conditions in mind. To grow the local electric mobility ecosystem, a skilled local pool of human resources will be critical. To help build this pool in Ghana, Siemens Stiftung in collaboration with Impact Hub Accra, recently organised their first Design Sprint under the motto “Charge 2022” to enable the next generation of Ghanaian sustainable technology and mobility enthusiasts to work on practical and implementable electric mobility ideas.

Launched on October 10, 2022, in Accra, the five-day workshop saw 31 final-year students from different Ghanaian universities and fresh graduates develop prototypes for sustainable e-mobility charging facilities. The program is funded by the German government’s International Climate Initiative (IKI) to facilitate the decarbonization of transportation in Ghana.

The program invited applications from students studying in technical universities and recent graduates who participated in group as well as individual exercises to develop solutions. During the week-long program, they worked with industry experts, mentors, and academics who coached them on hands-on technical and product development aspects. Eight young students emerged as the winners of the first Design Sprint organized by Impact Hub Accra in collaboration with Siemens Stiftung.

Will Senyo, CEO of Impact Hub Accra said: “Our aim for the IKI Cargo Bikes project is to promote the use of e-cargo bikes in Africa as a viable means of transport. The week-long Design Sprint program sought to engage young people to provide innovative solutions that will revolutionize the transport industry. For 12 months, the eight winners will join our team to develop their skills and capabilities and ultimately help us get closer to our mission. We are passionate about sustainable solutions, and continuously partner with local and international institutions to support inclusive growth in West Africa and beyond.”

The prototype from the student team “AK LAB” won the competition, teams “Flash Ride” and “Proton” were placed second and third, respectively. Students were competing to develop a charging station unit with a total cost limit of €7,000 with the capacity to charge eight to ten 48V 21Ah e-bike batteries simultaneously. The competitors were encouraged to primarily use recycled and locally available materials.

“The aspiration is that the ideas developed should be embedded in circular economy principles. We want to facilitate the production and dissemination of climate-friendly mobility systems along with nurturing Ghana’s vast youth population in future growth areas in the green economy. The exchange of experiences through our three-year program “Cargo bikes Made in Ghana” will contribute to the further expansion of the electric mobility ecosystem in West Africa,” adds Marah Köberle, Senior Project Manager Development Cooperation at Siemens Stiftung and member of the jury that selected the best projects.

Green and clean mobility and transport are vital to achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11 on sustainable cities and communities along with supporting the implementation of other SDGs such as access to education or health. To support the transformation in Ghana’s transportation sector, Impact Hub Accra and Siemens Stiftung launched the joint project “Cargo Bikes: Made in Ghana” in 2021 to introduce electric cargo bikes and encourage sustainable production in the country. They are working with regional institutions, businesses, academics, and administration on advocacy and technical issues to foster more sustainable, accessible, inclusive, and efficient urban transportation.

This project is sponsored by IKI (International Climate Initiative), the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs, and Climate Action’s implementation arm for international climate finance commitments. With its IKI grants, the ministry provides targeted support to small-scale civil-society stakeholders based in Germany who work to protect the climate and cooperate with local partners in emerging economies like Ghana.

Siemens Stiftung say, “Mobility is one of the fundamental conditions for sustainable, economic, and societal development in a country: trade, healthcare, education, political participation, or cultural interaction rely on reliable and affordable transport systems.” Scaling access to sustainable and affordable mobility solutions is therefore critical to development across the continent.

It’s really good to see these kinds of design workshops that follow through with 12-month programs to develop the skills and capabilities of participants. During the 12-month program, the participants receive on-hand training and practical work experience within the e-mobility team. The training  covers various topics, from technical topics to the business model, events management, marketing, and other areas. They also receive mentorship from industry experts throughout the program.

Images from Siemens Stiftung


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Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai

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.

Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai has 756 posts and counting. See all posts by Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai