CNG vehicles: Finance Minister, Wale Edun assures of delivery during visit to JET Motor Company assembly plant

David Afolayan
The minister’s visit to Jet Motors showcases Nigeria’s capacity to meet the growing demand for environmentally friendly vehicles…
CNG Vehicles: Finance Minister, Wale Edun visits JET Motor Company assembly plant

Nigeria’s Finance Minister, Wale Edun, during a visit to the Jet Motor Company plant in Lagos, has assured that the Presidential Initiative on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) of the current administration is on course and that CNG vehicles will soon be rolled out for the benefit of all citizens.

The minister’s visit to Jet Motors, one of Nigeria’s foremost indigenous electric vehicle manufacturing plants, showcases Nigeria’s capacity to meet the growing demand for environmentally friendly vehicles.

Recall that JET Motor Company is one of the four companies commissioned by the government of Nigeria to deliver over 200 vehicle units as part of President Tinubu’s Initiative to utilise compressed natural gas vehicles to make mass transit affordable in the face of rising petroleum and diesel costs.

The visit is part of efforts to engage with local producers, re-emphasise the government’s local industry support plans and build a broad-based partnership with key industry leaders towards accelerating the expansion of local capacity, job creation, and economic growth.

“I have come to see what is happening with the CNG Initiative. Where are the buses Nigerians have been asking for? I have seen for myself, I have driven them; tested them and I have seen them being assembled. Of course, soon, they will begin to be rolled out and the benefits will be available to all Nigerians”, the minister said at the end of the assembly tour.

CNG Vehicles: Finance Minister, Wale Edun visits JET Motor Company assembly plant

During the visit, Minister Edun explained that engaging local manufacturers such as JET Motor Company to assemble CNG vehicles locally will result in cost-efficient delivery as well as foster local capacity development.

Similar: Nigerian e-hailing drivers are choosing CNG cars over Electric Vehicles and here is why

“The initiative is reducing transport costs. It is also helping to grow the economy. So we see, two critical aims are being achieved”, he added.

He also commended the management of Jet Motor Company for their contribution towards deepening local automotive productive capacity. He highlighted their dedication to employing local talent which underscored their belief in empowering communities and contributing to Nigeria’s economic prosperity while assuring them of continued government support.

Nigeria’s journey to locally produced CNG Vehicles

Last year, President Bola Tinubu addressed millions of Nigerians on the state of the country. Following the controversial removal of subsidies on petrol, citizens have been forced to grapple with increased transport prices, food items, and other essential items. 

CNG Vehicles: Finance Minister, Wale Edun visits JET Motor Company assembly plant
Minister Edun testing the JET CNG buses. Beside him is the founder of JET Motors, Chidi Ajaere

Among the issues President Tinubu spoke on, transport was considered a major interest for many citizens. He pledged that between then and May 2024, his government would invest N100 billion to acquire 5500 CNG vehicles (buses and tricycles), 100 Electric buses, 20,000 CNG conversion kits and the development of CNG refilling stations and electric charging stations.

Regarding the financing model, he said the transport companies would get the buses through a credit facility at an interest rate of 9% with a 60-month repayment period. 

Unlike electric buses or regular buses using internal combustion engines, CNG buses rely on gas. Interestingly, transport isn’t the only area where natural gas has been considered an alternative to petrol. After public transport prices rose, news broke that some Nigerians were converting their petrol generators.

The President also set up a Presidential Compressed Natural Gas Initiative (PCNGI) committee to partner with the private sector to deliver his promise possibly before his first anniversary. The committee is chaired by Michael Oluwagbemi, an oil and gas expert.

During the visit, the minister was accompanied by the Director-General of the National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC), Joseph Osanipin, and Tosin Coker, Commercial Director of PCNGI. They were received by the founder and chairman of Jet Motor Company, Chidi Ajaere, Chief Executive Officer, Engr Derek Ewelukwa, Sales Director, Sanjay Rupani and the Plant Manager, Ebimo Ofongo.

Welcoming the minister, Ajaere said, “Jet Motor Company can assemble full CNG and petrol buses and also convert petrol vehicles to CNG. We can do that today”.

CNG Vehicles- Finance Minister, Wale Edun visits JET Motor Company assembly plant
JET Motor Company EV (CNG Vehicle) – PHOTO Credit: @jetmotorcompany/Instagram

Similarly, Ewelukwa appreciated the minister and his team for the honour of the visit. and thanked the Tinubu administration for its intentional efforts geared towards supporting local industries, particularly the automotive sector, through direct interventions and the programmes of the NADDC.

“We are proud to be an indigenous company. We have always wanted to prove that it was possible to do it here. To build here. To create value here. To export value from here. This is what we are doing”, he explained.

JET Motor Company’s journey

Being an innovative indigenous vehicle manufacturer, JET Motor Company specializes in building vehicles tailored to meet Africa’s unique transportation needs.

In 2020, the company closed a private round of financing from the Canadian-based Africa Development Capital, Greatman Legend and some investors from Asia. The cash injection, which is solely for research and development, will enable the company to develop its EVs and introduce other lines of vehicles including, pickups, SUVs sedans etc.

Nigerian Automaker, JET Motor Company Has Been Quietly Building Africa's Custom Vehicles
Automaker, JET Motor Company’s Logo on vehicle

After years of research, testing and iterative development, some of the earliest outputs of the company’s effort are the JET EV, Africa’s first all-electric vehicle, and the JET Mover, a luxury, durable, yet affordable minibus built specifically for African roads.

Read also: Nigerian Automaker, JET Motor Company Has Been Quietly Building Africa’s Custom Vehicles

Following successful prototyping, JET Motor Company was able to engage leading inter-state transporter, GIGM as an early adopter, making it one of the first to live-test the vehicle. The JET Mover can also be customised for various other uses like cargo, medical emergencies, as a school bus or for military use.

The JET EV is JET’s electricity-powered bus project. Already well into the research and development phase, current JET EV prototypes can be driven for over 300 kilometres on a single charge.

CNG Vehicles: Finance Minister, Wale Edun visits JET Motor Company assembly plant
Images from JET Motor Company’s assembly plant in Lagos…

Hence, the company’s early pivot to CNG vehicles at such a crucial point in the country’s transport history is not surprising.

CEO Ewelukwa revealed that the company had recently begun substantially investing in the production of CNG vehicles, in line with the policy direction of the Tinubu administration against the backdrop of reforms impacting the local energy market.

“We are an agile company; we continue to adapt to new realities and expand our offerings within the clean energy niche of the mobility market”, he said.

.


Technext Newsletter

Get the best of Africa’s daily tech to your inbox – first thing every morning.
Join the community now!

Register for Technext Coinference 2023, the Largest blockchain and DeFi Gathering in Africa.

Technext Newsletter

Get the best of Africa’s daily tech to your inbox – first thing every morning.
Join the community now!