Road transport is the most predominantly used mode of transportation in Ghana. It currently takes about 98% of freight and 95% of passenger traffic in Ghana. Busses popularly known as “trotro” are the main mode of commute which account for about 60% of passenger movement followed by taxis with 14.5% and private cars accounting for 25.5%. Most of these vehicles can cause immediate or long-term effects to the environment we live in.
Whereas these vehicles help us move from one point to another, their exhaust pipe emits a wide range of gases into the atmosphere which causes global warming, acid rain, harm to the environment and human health. In this article, we examine some benefits an electric vehicle (ev) have over an internal combustion vehicle (ICV).
When Karl Benz patented the three-wheeled Motor Car, known as the “Motorwagen,” in 1886, it was the first true modern automobile. It helped people move to their destination with ease. Even though he was not the only man to have conceived the idea, his vehicle was able to help solve the problem of transportation.
On the back of that, cars became widely accessible in the 20th century as animal-drawn carriages were replaced with four wheeled-cars from ford motors in the United State of America. Most of these cars back then had controls for driving and parking.
It is in recent times that additional features and controls such as reverse cameras, navigation systems, air-condition and many more have been added to most cars by manufacturers making it more efficient and easier to operate. Most of these cars are propelled by an internal combustion engine, fueled by the combustion of fossil fuel, and as such introduced a lot of fumes into their surroundings.
In 2018, World Health Organization (WHO) in their report mentioned that, car exhaust fumes amongst others is one of the major causes of air pollution in our environment and has killed over thousands of people as is the case in Ghana.
Other problems aside environmental pollution and greenhouse emission caused by increasing vehicular emissions from fossil fuels are fuel spills on our roads, the persistent increase in the price of fuel by Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and governments, and a high cost of maintenance associated with internal combustion vehicles.
Electric Vehicles (EV) on the other hand, which is now seen as the future of automobiles became commercially available in the late 2000’s with companies from the United States of America and China like Tesla, JAC and others making a fortune from it. Countries like China, have chalked a milestone in the EV market by recording a market share of 4.8% of new EV cars sold in 2018.
Even though Africa is yet to catch up with the rest of the world in the EV market, countries like south Africa, Kenya and Ghana have risen up to the challenge from Europe, Asia and America.
In the case of Ghana, SolarTaxi, a startup which seeks to harness the energy of the sun to provide clean and affordable transport for Africa has begun providing leasing services for their electric bikes and cars at affordable rates for as low as GH¢40 per day for an electric bike and Ghs 800 per month for an electric car. These solutions seek to solve the problem of climate change concerns, persistent rise in fuel, high cost of maintenance associated with ICV’s and many more.
Overall, driving an electric vehicle in many African countries like Ghana is cheaper than compared to driving an internal combustion engine because of the cost of fuel and the end user benefits from little cost of operating and maintaining an EV compared to an ICV, the luxury of charging your vehicle at home, no pollution to the environment and no engine noise.
>>>The writer is an Investment Analyst and a Growth Associate at SolarTaxi Limited. [SolarTaxi is a company that harnesses the energy of the sun to provide clean and affordable transport]. He holds an MBA in Finance from Coventry University in the UK and also a certificate from the Ghana Stock Exchange.