Friday, May 24, 2024

Electrifying the Future: Accelerating the drive towards Clean Transportation


Electrical vehicles have been around for hundreds of years, but they started gaining popularity in recent years owing to the technological evolution in battery construction and rapid charging. Many companies are manufacturing some stunning electric vehicle models that represent the bright future of the electric vehicle industry. An all-electric future is inevitable for the automobile industry, but the change is rather slow to happen. Inefficient and unsustainable transport networks lead to lower productivity gains and can have a negative impact on the quality of life in cities. Conversely, investments in urban transport not only improve mobility through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions but also lowers transport and commuting costs by increasing connectivity between residential areas and businesses.

According to the National Energy Efficiency and Conservation 2020 Strategy, Kenya’s target over the years has been to expand the percentage of electric vehicle imports to five each year. To promote this, Kenya signed the COP26 declaration on accelerating the transition to 100 percent zero-emission cars and vans with the government identifying its adoption as a priority action for sustainable transportation. To enhance this initiative, synergies with BasiGo have enabled the launching of the first electric buses in Nairobi. The pilot buses have driven over 12,000 kilometers giving Nairobi residents access to safe, comfortable and clean transport for their daily commute. Furthermore, the new partially assembled buses have arrived and will be taken to Associated Vehicle Assemblers in Miritini for final assembly and finishing.

Various factors are contributing to the growth of the electric vehicle (EV) market such as increased consumer interest, government policies, and buy-in from the auto industry.

Most car owners are concerned about fuel emissions and perceive the main advantage of EVs to be that they are good for the environment. Manufacturers have introduced a greater variety of EVs in the market, including the much-preferred large size vehicles resulting in more options for their consumers. Range anxiety- the fear of running out of battery power before reaching a charging location has long deterred consumers from purchasing an electric vehicle. However, with the advances in battery technology, the battery capacity and range will greatly improve.

State government policies are offering incentives, such as rebates, to encourage EV ownership by helping offset the high upfront costs of EVs. Several states have implemented a zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) program, which requires auto manufacturers to sell a set quota of battery-electric or plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles and have passed laws that ban the sale of new gas-powered vehicles by 2035.

Automakers have unveiled strategies to speed up the electrification of new cars and trucks. Most major companies plan to roll out dozens of new electric vehicle models over the next decade, are implementing electric vehicle sales targets while committing to eventually end fuel-powered vehicle production. To achieve their electrification goals, automakers plan to invest billions of dollars over the next decade in research and development and building new manufacturing plants, particularly for battery production.

The vehicle electrification trend is expected to generate demand for labour in three main areas: the design and development of electric vehicle models, the production of batteries that power them, and the installation and maintenance of charging infrastructure.

Software developers have created computer applications that run EVs such as battery management systems. EVs will become more technologically advanced over time, for example, by integrating autonomous driving capabilities, and will require more frequent over-the-air software updates and upgrades to ensure that systems are working properly and securely. As such, the expertise and skills of software developers will be increasingly needed to create the software that controls these vehicles.

Electrical engineers develop EV electric systems and parts, including the motor. These engineers work in the generation and distribution of electricity and will be needed to research and improve the performance of vehicle power electronics, or the electrical circuitry that controls the flow of electrical energy from the battery to the motor to the other parts of the car. Electrical engineers may also work on EV battery technology or in the design and installation of charging stations.

Electronics engineers are responsible for designing electric vehicle control systems, such as the driver infotainment system, and the electronics that enable advanced driver safety systems such as automatic braking and collision prevention and battery management systems. Electric cars will increasingly use new technologies, such as those that regulate and monitor battery health and performance, and those that implement driver safety systems and self-driving features. These advanced features mean more sophisticated electronics will be incorporated into new electric vehicles and automakers will need the expertise of electronics engineers to develop and test these electronic components.

Demand of electric vehicles has grown over the past years thanks to the heightened environmental concerns, greater availability of models, increased competitiveness with conventional gas vehicles and improved vehicle ranges. These factors are expected to continue to drive increased adoption over the 2023- 33 decade, with the wide availability of tax incentives and other government programs supporting this trend further.



Dr. Edward Mungai
Dr. Edward Mungai
The writer, Dr. Edward Mungai, is a global sustainability expert. He is the Lead Consultant and Partner at Impact Africa Consulting Ltd (IACL), a leading sustainability and strategy advisory in Africa. He is also the Chief Editor at Africa Sustainability Matters. He can be contacted via

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