August 31st, 2020 by Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai
The first batch of Solar Taxi’s 10 Cherry Tiggo 3xe 480 EV SUVs have arrived in Ghana, and customers who had pre-ordered, as well as those who have signed expressions of interest, are now enjoying the first round of test drives before deliveries start in September.
Solar Taxi is a Ghanaian startup that we covered recently about its announcement that it is scaling up its electric bike business. The company quickly followed that up by launching an EV leasing business where consumers in Ghana can lease a brand new all-electric sedan for just $160 per month.
That sedan was the Chinese-built JAC iEV7L pure electric vehicle. This JAC sedan has a decent 35.2 kWh battery that is good for about 302 km (189 miles) NEDC. The battery pack has an energy density of 140.24Wh/kg. Its drivetrain produces 50 kW (67 hp) of power and 215 Nm of torque. Using the very optimistic NEDC driving cycle, the JAC iEV7L’s energy consumption is 13.4 kWh/100km. This EV, like all EVs, will definitely come in cheaper to drive than an equivalent ICE vehicle in Ghana across the various vehicle segments.
Solar Taxi is banking on this cheap cost to “fuel” the car as well as the savings from the low maintenance costs associated with driving an EV to get Ghanaians driving EVs. SolarTaxi’s minimum lease contract is for just one month! This flexibility will certainly appeal to consumers in a market where standard vehicle financing options are as widely available as in other parts of the continent like South Africa.
It seems Solar Taxi Ghana is not slowing down and wants to move very quickly, as it followed that up by launching the Cherry Tiggo 3xe 480 EV SUVs in the Ghanaian market. The first 10 vehicles have arrived in Ghana and people are already enjoying the electric test drives, as seen here in this video.
The next batch of 30 vehicles is already on the way to Ghana, and Solar Taxi hopes to have brought in at least 90 EVs before the end of the year. The vehicles have been well received in Ghana, and Solar Taxi says it is very happy with the responses so far from the market.
The Cherry Tiggo 3xe 480 SUV has the following specs:
- 53.6 kWh battery good for a range of about 401 km (NEDC)
- 95 kW motor producing 280 Nm of torque
- Top speed of 151 km/h
- Dimensions of the Tiggo 3xe 480 EV SUV are 4200 mm long, 1760 mm wide, and 1570 mm high.
- The wheelbase of the Tiggo 3xe 480 EV SUV is 2555 mm, and it has a ground clearance of 150 mm.
The Tiggo 3xe 480 EV SUV comes standard with 17-inch wheels. The curb weight of the Tiggo 3xe 480 EV SUV is 1515 kg, according to Watev2buy.
In the words of Mr Victor Afoegbu “This car is fantastic and I want to shout in the traffic that I’m driving an Electronic Car”. Preorder on our website, https://t.co/2Ek3jByupS #electricity #solartaxi #solar #energy pic.twitter.com/juSiJDVEIw
— SolarTaxi (@SolarTaxiGh) August 28, 2020
With a price tag of around $23,000 in China, it is certainly one of the more affordable SUVs that come with a 53 kWh battery pack. It’s a pretty smart move by Solar Taxi to start with these Chinese models. They are definitely a good value for the specs you get. These models allow the company to lease EVs in Ghana starting from $160 per month, and the flexible lease contract will certainly keep the orders coming from Ghanaian consumers. There is no shortage of electricity to power EVs in Ghana. By the end of 2019, the installed electricity generation capacity available for grid power supply in the country was about 4,990 megawatts (MW). The peak load, however, was around 2,612 MW.
The interesting part is the portion of the total dependable grid capacity, which was 4,580 MW in 2019 and was therefore in excess of the peak load by a whopping 1,968 MW! To put that into perspective, that excess capacity is enough to meet Kenya’s current demand at peak times. Ghana’s electricity generation mix includes 40% from hydro, just under 60% from thermal energy plants, and a little bit of solar. With all that excess electricity, it’s really a no-brainer, and that’s why we are starting to see more Ghanaian firms pushing hard for the adoption of EVs.
Africa’s low levels of motorization and the large volumes of used vehicle imports means that most of the traditional automakers overlook the opportunities in the African EV market. However, it appears Chinese automakers working with African startups are starting to take advantage of this. Chinese EVs are much cheaper in any case, and would land at more affordable prices for the majority of consumers in the targeted segments. The flexible vehicle leasing models adopted by Solar Taxi, and the potential for the widely adopted PayGo models used in the small solar system space across Africa to be applied to the EV space as well means the road to adoption is about to get really exciting.
All images courtesy of Solar Taxi except JAC iEV7, via JAC.
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