In the United States, President Joe Biden, wants an aggressive transition to electric vehicles, expressing resolute will that by 2030, half the number of vehicles sold be electric. It is part of his economic and climate agendas.
Major US automakers like Ford are on record that by 2030, 40% of its car sales will be electric. By 2035, General Motors says it will be entirely into making electric vehicles (EVs). For VW, 70 % of its sales will be electric by 2030. Examples abound, projecting significant changes within the next two decades.
The aim is to decarbonize, the process of reducing greenhouse gas emissions produced by burning fossil fuels, in line with the 2016 Paris Agreement. The motivation for the shift is founded on what experts are positing that EVs create a lower carbon footprint during their lifetime than those that use traditional, internal combustion engines.
One of the electric cars
Across Africa, EVs uptake is conspicuously low, but change is inevitable. Likening it to the seemingly cold emergence of the internet in the 1990s to the 3 billion people the innovation currently has to its name, experts say the EV narrative is likely to take a similar pattern and Africa must equally begin to adopt the shift.
From dusty earth roads to chronic power challenges, the adoption of electric cars in developing countries including Africa where pre-owned cars from countries like Japan are often the only affordable option might come with its own set of challenges. These cars emit dangerous fumes largely due to their old age, thereby exposing people to high levels of air pollution.
Meanwhile, a South African based electric vehicle and green tech company, Agilitee, has expressed intent to open its outlet for electric vehicles to various countries across Africa, pointing out the development will create at least one thousand jobs within 18 months in Malawi. According to its Chief Executive Officer Mandla Lamba, there was a need for African Governments to adopt the electric car revolution.
“Most African Governments have not entirely adopted the use of electric vehicles and we need more education so that our people are aware of the benefits electric vehicles come along with,” he said.
At the just ended COP26 in Glasgow, climate crisis-prone countries pleaded for urgent action to ensure the Paris Agreement's 1.5 degrees Celsius target is met. While acknowledging the adoption of electric cars cannot single-handedly deal with the issue of carbon emissions leading to climate change, environmentalist and President for the Association for Environmental Journalists (AEJ) Mathews Malata says the initiative is a worthwhile step.
An electric scooter
“It's a good thing. We need to dream big. But we are failing to have electricity for lighting, for cooking. How do we begin to talk about electricity for charging vehicles?” Wondered Malata?
Greenhouse gases like CO2 and Methane trap heat in the earth's atmosphere. Excessive levels of those gases are causing an energy imbalance, leading to global warming. It is a development that has unprecedentedly led to several adverse weather events, including incessant and deadly bushfires, floods and higher sea levels.