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Recently, Nigerian lawmakers struck down a bill proposing that Nigeria speed up adoption of electric vehicles by setting a timeline of 2035 within which the country will phase out petrol vehicles. According to Ben Murray-Bruce, the sponsor of the bill and who claims he has been using an electric car for the past five years, they are generally cheaper to maintain and durable.
Nigeria may have lost an opportunity to be part of a new world that is consistently and persuasively shifting its focus and dependability from fossil fuel, but nothing stops a state like Nasarawa from plugging into the evolving market and become a major player. All the state requires to achieve that is its abundance of Lithium mineral.
The entire global electric car market rests majorly on battery technology. Half of the cost of an electric car goes to the battery. Over the years, while the price of batteries have significantly gone down, they are still not cheap enough to put the overall cost of a green car on par with a regular one. The average price for batteries at the end of last year in China was near $180/kwh, down 11 per cent from a year earlier but still higher than experts and analysts’ expectations.
The most common battery type in modern electric cars is lithium-ion and lithium polymer battery. Lithium is a metal and is soft with a silvery-white colour which changes to a dull silvery-grey colour and then black tarnish on exposure to moist air and this occurs due to corrosion of the surface. Nasarawa State has the largest deposit of the mineral in Nigeria.
Demand for lithium has soared over the years and producers are frantically searching for new sources of supply. Prices have also doubled since 2016, rising as high as $16,500 per ton. And the biggest demand is in lithium-ion batteries used to power electric vehicles.
In January, 2018, lithium-ion battery sales were projected to grow at an annualized rate of 13.7 per cent, rising to $67.6 billion by 2022. It is also projected to grow further by $36.20 billion in 2018 to $109.72 billion by 2026.
Currently, China, the US and the European region have accounted for maximum sales of electric vehicles. Roughly 1.6 million electric cars were on the roads in China in 2018, followed by 810,000 in the US.
With some good leadership, Nasarawa State can put its many squabbles behind and be part of a trend setting technology that the world needs.