U.S General Motors Predictions would help us understand when the World will be satisfied in the Use of Electric Vehicles
By Ange de la Victoire DUSABEMUNGU
While countries around the world are continuing their efforts to change the way people transport goods from petrol and fuel vehicles to electric or solar powered transport system, based on the urgent need for the shift, some stakeholders agree that the industrial production of Electric vehicles and accessories is still in its infancy in order for this shift to reach in countries around the World.
Recently in Rwanda there have been showcased some innovations that bring results to E-mobility.
However, what is clear is that infrastructure such as Charging Stations is limited in addition to higher cost of Electric-powered vehicles.
Different countries continue to set goals for having a Net zero emissions based on their projections; however, this requires efforts and cooperation between countries in order to achieve the measures set out in the various agreements for the protection of the environment.
In a recent interview with TOPAFRICANEWS, a number of leaders who have come up with new approaches to transportation, especially in the United States highlighted the variation where some countries around the world are still burdened by the shift from harmful transportation to more environmentally friendly transport.
Read also: U.S sets innovative targets to combating climate related effects
Responding to this website’s reporter, Tom Cooney, the vice president of global public policy at General Motors explains that all countries are not at the same level in responding to the climate change adding that “You can see that in countries that are really successful like Norway,… they have extremely successful policy settings that encourage infrastructure, public charging stations that are government supported, consumer incentives for purchases of EVs, investment tax credits for research and development into batteries and additional manufacturing capacity.”
According to the 2018 data from Statista.com on the world’s top three markets by total Electric Vehicles sales in 2018, It showed that China stood first with 1,053,000 EV unit sales. The United States stood second with 361,000 unit sales, followed by Norway with 73,000 sales.
Also, the recent statistics released by IEA showed that Electric car sales topped 2.1 million globally in 2019, surpassing 2018 – which was already a record year.
Sales rose 6% from 2018, following several years of over 40% annual electric car sales growth.
The 2019 increase is embedded within the third year of global car market contraction, and the global electric car market share reached a new record of 2.6%, up from 2.4% in 2018 and 1% in 2017.
The electric car stock therefore increased 40% year-on-year in 2019, indicating strong sustained EV sector development after annual successes since 2016 and a positive outlook for attaining the 36% average annual stock growth needed to reach the SDS target by 2030.
China was the world’s largest market (1.06 million electric cars sold in 2019), followed by Europe (560 000) and the United States (326 000); these three regions accounted for over 90% of all sales in 2019.
However, Norway continues to have the highest market share for sales (56% in 2019), followed by Iceland (23%) and the Netherlands (15%).
Despite manufacturers putting so much investment in bringing to the market such vehicles, one of the calls is to get electric cars that are not expensive depending on the financial means among the people.
Affordability of electric vehicles all over the world is a critical question and as explained by Mr Tom Cooney: “We believe that this will happen in the next several years, sometime over the course of the next decade.”
As explained by Experts from the U.S based General Motors car manufacturer company, the best way to reduce the cost of electric vehicles is to offer a lower range car simply because when the range is high it also needs a high range battery which normally makes the cost high.
Using the example, Mr. Jack Hund, Michigan Orion Assembly Plant Launch Manager said “For instance, the original Bolt was a significant investment for our company, and the original Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) was around 37,000 U.S. dollars. And the Bolts that we’re producing now that just came off of the line yesterday and we’re shipping to commerce, they start at MSRP of 31,000.”
If you look at these prices, they are not affordable to everyone in developing countries, where for example if converted the company’s price into Rwandan francs you noticed that an electric bolt car in Michigan factory price, the affordable price is between Rwf 37 million and Rwf 31 million without importation costs.
Read also: Combating Climate Change through Transportation: Rwanda CAN work the U.S way
However, for U.S citizens, there is a $7,500 consumer incentive for new EV buyers in the United States from the federal government.
“There’s also 50 states, and some states have their own EV incentives or tax write-offs or rebates for purchase of an EV, all of which are designed to help with climate change and help with this adoption. And so that’s – the consumer incentives are very important.” Said Tom Cooney, the vice president of global public policy at General Motors.
Rwanda opens space for investors in Electric mobility
Not only in the United States, where the government is ready to help buyers of Electric vehicles, there are other countries, such as Rwanda, that are also putting in place incentives for anyone using equipment such as electric vehicles or e-motos.
In October 2019, Volkswagen launched a pilot project in partnership with Siemens to test the feasibility of electric mobility in an African country. The pilot project is part of Volkswagen’s operations in Rwanda. Volkswagen has signed a joint development agreement with Siemens to provide the charging infrastructure.
Read also: First for Africa: Volkswagen and Siemens launch joint electric mobility pilot project in Rwanda
Speaking at the recent inaugural event on E-mobility solutions, the Director General for Transport in Rwanda’s Ministry of Infrastructure, Eng. Alfred Byiringiro mentioned that Rwanda’s Government approved a new set of incentives that will help meet its goals in sustainable transport. The new incentives are meant to catalyze the adoption of electric vehicles.
He also mentioned that Rwanda updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) which outlines the importance of electric vehicles and the enforcement of vehicle emission standards as key mitigation measures on the path to reduce greenhouse gases.
Read also: Transition to E-motos would result in an annual reduction of approximately 23 billion Rwandan Francs in fuel imports
DG Byiringiro said that the incentives are expected to serve Rwanda’s long-term goal to be a carbon-neutral nation as articulated in its Vision 2050.
“The incentives will also play a role to mobilize investment into the e-mobility sector which has fast emerged as a top sector on demand”, he said.
In a presentation made by a representative of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), it was highlighted that Rwanda is actively encouraging investment in the e-mobility sector.
RDB outlined some of the initiatives to encourage investment of this kind including a preferential corporate income tax rate of 15% for investors operating in e-mobility. Firms operating in the energy, ITC, and mass transport industries also qualify.
Read also: What is required for the use of E-buses in the city of Kigali to reduce air pollution
There are already several firms in the E-mobility space in Rwanda and the new incentives are expected to give them a major boost.
Some of the firms that were exhibiting at the E-Mobility Technology Showcase included Guraride, Volkswagen Rwanda, Victoria Motors, Rwanda Electric Motorcycles, Safi Universal Links and Ampersand.
Rwanda’s new incentives are quite comprehensive and will certainly help catalyze the transition to electric mobility which may encourage more countries in the region to follow with similar incentives.