The electric vehicle market is red hot right now in Europe, China, and other developed automobile markets. How can Africa get in on the action? We have discussed several options that could help catalyze adoption on the continent, including:
- Growing used EV imports to create a supply of more affordable vehicles on the continent
- Working with OEMs in India and China to bring smaller and more affordable EVs
- Accelerating the conversions of old ICE vehicles already on the continent to electric
A lot of the legacy OEMs that already have presence on the continent have not expressed any interest in bringing EVs to Africa anytime soon. With the majority of them struggling to meet demand in their home and traditional markets, it doesn’t look like Africa will be a priority anytime soon. Some OEMs such as Hyundai are now getting serious on the continent by assembling the Hyundai Kona and the Ionic in Nigeria and Ethiopia respectively. Aside from Hyundai, Jaguar, and BMW South Africa, it’s been pretty quiet on the continent. Converting millions of old ICE vehicles on the continent could really be catalyst in the EV transition.
Arke Technologies of Ghana wants to help accelerate the adoption of EVs and distributed renewable energy in Ghana. Founded by Nana Arkorful and his father Abeku Arkorful, Arke Technologies has already started an EV conversion school in Accra, Ghana, which has so far attracted over 60 people! Mr Abeku Arkorful is well known in the Ghana automotive sector having worked on vehicles for over 40 years. Mr. Abeku Arkorful has over those 40 years specialized in “Pimp My Ride” style luxury customization and optimization. He is also responsible for servicing and maintaining some of Ghana’s most prominent figures car collection. He also services Tesla Model X vehicles that were imported directed from North America by several families in Ghana.
Mr Arkorful began exploring the benefits of EVs several year ago and decided to convert an Alfa Romeo. His Alfa Romeo is now powered by a 17 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. This Alfa has received a lot of interest in Ghana, which motivated him to start the EV conversion workshop and the training academy. Nana Arkorful, who is the COO of Arke Global, studied physics at Morehouse College and is a renewable energy adopter. Nana says his passion for EVs was influenced by playing with racing cars when he was younger. “I would always imagine myself driving inside making the turns and reaching top speeds. Today, we have full-sized BEVs, similar to the small RC cars we all loved, that are changing the way we think about transportation.”
Nana is focused on operations, R&D, product architecture, and optimization, as well as raising the capital to scale up the training school and workshop. His brother Kweku is also helping on the capital raise. The training school’s mission is to enable as many people as possible to build a skilled local workforce to support the conversion industry in Ghana. One of the major objectives of Arke Technologies as they ramp up the conversion business is to lower the cost of ownership and reduce the opex costs for business owners, especially fleet operators in the public transport industry. So far the local authorities have been supportive and Arke Technologies didn’t have any issues registering its Alfa Romeo for road use.
All images courtesy of Arke Technologies.