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The 'Amoanimah' electric vehicle by Kantanka, Ghana's local car manufacturing company
The 'Amoanimah' electric vehicle by Kantanka, Ghana's local car manufacturing company

Ghana's transition to electric vehicles

The 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference or Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC, more commonly referred to as COP28, is the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference being held from November 30 to December 12, 2023, at Expo City, Dubai, UAE. 

One of the highlights of Ghana’s participation in the conference was the launch of the country’s National Electric Vehicle Policy by President Akufo-Addo last week.

At the event, Energy Minister Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh recounted the role of energy in the delivery of the policy and indicated that electric mobility of goods and services is one of the strategic focuses to achieve a net-zero energy economy for Ghana.

Paris Agreement context

Transitioning to net-zero emissions by 2050 is the new target for the climate and global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions policy, following the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursue measures to avoid breaching 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels.

Against the urgent backdrop of extreme heatwaves, droughts, fires and floods across the globe, vulnerable low-and medium-income countries (LMICs) such as Ghana are all working on solutions.

Such solutions include making commitments to reach net-zero emissions within their jurisdictions and deciding their nationally determined contributions (NDCs).

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According to the Ghana Electric Vehicles Baseline Survey Report of 2022, authored by the Energy Commission, the International Energy Agency (IEA) sees vehicle electrification as the major means of reducing carbon footprint in the transport sector.

The end-use sector, with the biggest reliance on fossil fuels, and transportation, accounts for 37 per cent of the carbon dioxide (CO2) produced.

According to the report, road transportation alone was responsible for 11.11 per cent of Ghana's overall CO2 emissions in 2016 and has had a cumulative impact of 59.9 per cent from the year 2000, according to the Ghana Environmental Protection Agency.

t is obvious, therefore, that if we are to achieve our Paris Agreement goals, then we must necessarily work towards reducing road transport-related emissions, which is where EVs, among others, come into the equation. 

Electric Vehicle stock

The Energy Commission’s report states that “the global electric car stock share was 1% in 2019 but then accounted for 9% of the global car market in 2021.

The global EV stock reached 16.4 million units in 2021 compared to 400 thousand units in 2013.

 IEA projects light-duty plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) to reach 140 million in 2030 although electric two and three-wheelers (E2&3W) are expected to reach 490 million in the same year.”

The report continues, “According to the International Trade Centre, about 17,660 PEVs were imported into Ghana between January 2017 and December 2021.

Imported motorised E2&3W during this period was 9,431 units, with most (98%) of the Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) being imported from China.

“In 2021, the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) reported that standard hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs) have the highest representation (91.5%), followed by BEVs at 5.1 per cent and plug-in hybrid electric (PHEVs) at 3.3 per cent.

“Due to its high electricity access rate (87%), excess capacity in electricity generation (2000 MW) and renewable energy share in our electricity mix (34.65%), Ghana is suitable for the introduction of PEVs.”

Challenges, prospects

Understandably, in literally every conversation about EVs, the issue of power availability to sustain them is omnipresent, and understandably so with our intermittent power challenges.

However, the Energy Commission’s report states that “even with the introduction of 50,000 new standard PEVs per annum in Ghana, the electricity consumption is likely to increase by 600 GWh per year, accounting for only 2.6 per cent of the 2022 consumption forecast of 23,578.51 GWh.”

Further, with only four Level 2 charging stations available to the public but all located in Accra, it is obvious that these have to be scaled up and spread wider to make it meaningful for long-distance travellers.

Whilst EVs can indeed cost quite an arm and a leg, according to the Energy Commission, the cost of operating an Internal Combustion Engine vehicle (ICEV) was 2.3 times more than the Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV).

However, the cost of fueling the ICEV was five times the cost of charging the BEV. Per the Commission’s estimates, assuming an annual average travel distance of 24,000 km, it costs $480 to charge the Hyundai Kona Electric compared to $2,535 for the Hyundai Kona ICEV as of 2022.

The recent budget setting out a waiver of import duties on EVs designated for public transportation for eight years is certainly a step in the right direction, as is the same waiver for semi-knocked down and completely knocked down Electric vehicles brought into the country by registered EV assembly companies for the same eight-year period.

Electric vehicles represent the future in transportation, and the future is already here with us.

We have no choice but to step up and be counted. 

Rodney Nkrumah-Boateng,
Head, Communications & Public Affairs Unit,
Ministry of Energy.

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