Last week saw the launching of Nigeria’s first electric car, Lion Ozumba 551, a five-seater prototype produced by the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Nigeria Nsukka. Mr. Jelani Aliyu, the Director-General of National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC) has commended the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) for being the first institution to produce an electric car in the country. He urged other universities in the country to emulate UNN in innovation and technology in order to move the country to the next level.
He said: “NADDC on Feb. 6, invited UNN, University of Lagos, Usman Dan Fodio University and Metrological Institute and urged them to prepare a paper design on how to produce an electric car in the country. “The council is happy that UNN is the first to prepare a paper design and produce an electric car that has been unveiled and test-run today in the university.
Mr Ozoemena Ani, who was the coordinator of UNN Metatronic group that produced the car, said that the prototype which was named after the immediate past Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Benjamin Ozumba, was produced with 80 percent local content and cost 800,000 naira. He also said that the car could be charged in any electric socket and can cover a distance of 30 kilometres, when fully charged.
The Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Charles Igwe, in an interview with Vanguard on Tuesday said that as a step forward from the milestone achievement, the university has already commenced in its laboratory, the process of using solar energy to power an improved version of Lion Ozumba 551.
With a range of 30km, it is still far behind what established EV makers like Tesla, Jaguar and Nissan are currently offering but this is a good place to start. The Vice chancellor also noted that the university is a place for research and not for mass production and has promised to continue giving top priority to technological innovation in the university. With further improvements to this prototype, we can expect to have our indigenous solar cars on the road few years from now.