Jet Motor Company has announced raising $9 million from Africa Development Capital (ADC) based in Canada, Greatman Legend and a host of investment companies from Asia.
Jet is a vehicle assembly and distribution company of Nigerian origin with the aim of expanding its products and services beyond what is common in Africa. The company is pushing to establish an all-electric vehicle manufacturing plant in Nigeria as a way of demonstrating its belief in the future of zero-emission. As part of its vision to lead Africa into the future of mobility by producing world class vehicles for African roads, it is therefore aiming to pioneer Electric Vehicles (EVs) in the African continent.
The journey began in 2017, when the company quietly started putting innovative works into play. Three years later, success is breaking the Jet’s silence. Nigerians are admiringly witnessing its products on the roads, as they come in customizable designs.
However, the company is seeking to introduce electric vehicles to Nigerian roads through the launch of Jet’s EV all-electric minibus project, a project the company’s Director of Sales Rupani Sanjay, pointed as reason for the partnership with ADC and others. He said the fund was secured in early 2019, as the company prepares to embark on intensive research for the all-electric vehicle innovation.
“Our ultimate vision is to lead Africa into a new era of mobility. That includes preparing it for the inevitable future, which can only be built on the efficiency of zero-emission electric cars,” he said.
As the world continues with the quest for cleaner energy, electric vehicles have been seen as an alternative to combustible engines. Many countries have set targets to totally eliminate the use of petrol powered vehicles, but Nigeria appears to be dragging foot.
A member of the 8th Senate, Senator Ben Murray Bruce once proposed the Electric Car Bill, but it was rejected by the National Assembly on the excuse that Nigeria is an oil producing country, therefore should not be in support of any move that will affect the oil industry.
Moreover, the infrastructure needed to forestall electric car manufacturing in Nigeria is lacking. Though the automotive policy of Nigeria has been reviewed, it is yet to be assented. by President Buhari. And lack of constant power supply poses the biggest challenge to electric vehicles enterprise in Nigeria.
But Jet Motor Company said they are taking all the lapses into consideration and are working out innovative ideas that help the company to scale the hurdles.
“We have already signed a contract with leading logistics company, GIG Logistics (GIGL) to supply over 50 electric Jet EV buses over the next 2 years. We will commence testing in Q3 2020, utilizing GIGL pickup centers between Lagos and Benin as charging points,” Sanjay explained.
He added that the Jet EV models can travel as far as 300km on a single charge, which requires charge stations in strategic places.
Sanjay disclosed that the ultimate goal of Jet Motor Company is to add other vehicle models in time as the company plays the role of Tesla in the African continent.
“Our plan is to have introduced other lines of vehicles, including pickups, SUVs and sedans by 2022. Our ultimate goal is to build the Tesla of Africa,” he said.
Meanwhile, the company has been pushing its other models. There has been so far Jet Mover, a series of luxury and minibuses the company introduced in 2019, and it has caught the attention of many users because of its versatility. For instance, the transport model of the Jet mover came with leisure features to make journeys jolly. The 13-seater bus is equipped with a personalized entertainment system attached to each seat, which gives a passenger the right to make his choice of entertainment in the course of a trip.
Sanjay said the buses can be converted for other uses as well, adding that it is designed to be used as a tour bus, for cargo, medical emergencies, school bus etc. and can be used by corporations, governments and individuals.
Many state governments and transportation companies have fallen in love with the buses from the onset; Lagos, Edo and Delta States governments. While in the transportation space, God is Good Motors and Delta Line have embraced the vehicle.
The Jet Motor buses took about three years before it was unveiled to the Nigerian public, a course of time many considered too long. But Sanjay has an explanation for that.
“We wanted to create a global product that is built to last. We were obsessed with getting it right because, if our vehicles can work well on Nigerian and African roads, they can succeed anywhere in the world,” he said.
The major hurdle to the use of electric vehicles in Nigeria has been ‘charge stations,’ it is hoped that Jet’s partnership with GIGL will pioneer the innovation that will encourage more use of electric vehicles in the country.