Nigeria Embraces Eco-Friendly Transport with Solar-Powered Tricycles

Eco-Friendly NiKeKe Tricycles Set to Transform Nigerian Streets

by Ikeoluwa Juliana Ogungbangbe
solar-powered NiKeKe tricycles

In a groundbreaking move towards sustainable urban transportation, a Nigerian automaker renowned for its solar-powered tricycles and quadracycles has joined forces with a US-based nonprofit organization. This collaboration, between Sustainable Communities Corporation (SSC) and Okafor Motors, aims to introduce environmentally friendly batteries and escalate vehicle production to meet the growing demand for cleaner, more sustainable transport options.

The venture, named NrG, is set to launch production of zinc-air and hemp carbon batteries, focusing initially on the local market. “Our first project will be to supply batteries for a uniquely Nigerian product developed by Okafor Motors – a solar and plug-in electric vehicle popularly known as a ‘keke’ in Nigeria, which we will trademark as NiKeKe for Nigerian Kekes,” SSC announced. This initiative marks a significant stride for Nigeria, a country yet to establish its first battery factory, signaling a promising advancement, particularly for the renewable energy sector’s grid backup solutions.

Following the initial focus on NiKeKes, the partnership plans to diversify into other battery types as market needs evolve. SSC and Okafor Motors are not only introducing a novel product but are also pioneering a financial model in Nigeria that draws on the success of a similar initiative, the Wisconsin Battery Company (WinBat), in the United States. With research support from institutions like the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, WinBat is developing rechargeable lithium-ion, zinc-air, and hemp batteries.

Anthony Obinna Okafor, Chief Engineer at Okafor Motors, pointed out the challenge of adopting electric vehicles in Nigeria, primarily due to charging constraints. “We’ve tackled this head-on by creating a solar-powered tricycle that drastically reduces the need for external charging sources, depending on the user’s needs,” Okafor explained. This innovation not only addresses the issue of charging infrastructure but also significantly cuts the recurring costs of petrol and maintenance typically associated with petrol-engine tricycles.

In addition to financial backing, SCC, through its subsidiary WinBat, will introduce its cutting-edge hemp battery technology to the partnership, enhancing the performance and sustainability of Okafor Motors’ solar-electric tricycles. This collaboration is poised to position these eco-friendly tricycles as formidable competitors against traditional gasoline-powered alternatives.

This ambitious project represents a leap towards sustainable economic development, leveraging innovative technology to solve urban mobility challenges while promoting environmental stewardship. By reducing reliance on fossil fuels and lowering maintenance costs, the NiKeKe initiative promises to transform the landscape of urban transportation in Nigeria, making eco-friendly vehicles a viable and appealing option for the masses.

As Nigeria takes this significant step forward, the partnership between SSC and Okafor Motors exemplifies the power of collaboration between local innovation and international support in driving positive change. The NiKeKe project not only showcases a commitment to green technology and economic development but also highlights a path toward cleaner, more sustainable urban environments across Nigeria and potentially beyond.

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