The worldwide electric vehicle (EV) stock expanded from 400,000 units in 2013 to 16.4 million units in 2021. The International Energy Agency (IEA) forecasts that light-duty plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) will reach 140 million by 2030, and electric two and three-wheelers will reach 490 million in the same period. According to the 2022 Ghana Electric Vehicles Baseline Survey Report by the Energy Commission, approximately 17,660 plug-in electric vehicles were imported into Ghana between January 2017 and December 2021. Additionally, during this period, Ghana imported 9,431 motorized electric two and three-wheelers, with a significant proportion (98%) of Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) originating from China. In 2021, the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) reported that standard hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs) constituted the largest share (91.5%) of total electric vehicle imports, followed by Battery Electric Vehicles at 5.1%, and plug-in hybrid electric (PHEVs) at 3.3%. It is important to note that electric vehicles come in various forms and classifications. The main types 12 OCTOBER – DECEMBER, 2023 available on the Ghanaian market include “Pure Electric Vehicles,” others include Hybrid Electric Vehicles Hybrid Plug-in Vehicles.
The Draft National Electric Vehicle Policy Dialogue
From the above, it is clear that the electronic vehicle industry in Ghana is growing rapidly and like any other sector of the economy, it requires some form of regulation. Consequently Ghana’s Ministry of Transport held consultative meetings on the draft National Electric Vehicle Policy in July and August 2023 with key stakeholders including Spare Parts Dealers and Transport Operators, Persons with Disabilities and Driving Schools as well as Civil Society Groups and the Media. In one of those meetings held on 2nd August 2023, the Deputy Minister of Transport, Hon. Hassan Tampuli, stated that electric vehicles would soon dominate the automobile market in Ghana, hence the need to formulate sustainable policies to prepare towards that regime. “A number of Electric Vehicles are already in the country and we do not have any policy yet so it’s important to expedite the dialogue and roll out the policies”, he noted. The initiative would ensure that the eventual policy that would be adopted would align with the expectation of stakeholders.
Challenges with Electric Vehicles in Ghana.
- High Capital Intensity: The considerable costs associated with purchasing electric vehicles might deter Ghanaians from embracing them, particularly given the elevated exchange rates. The global market price for an electric vehicle stands at approximately $36,000. Once imported into Ghana, additional taxes at the point of entry can escalate the total cost of an electric vehicle by about 30% or more compared to the manufacturer’s suggested retail price.
- Insufficient Charging Infrastructure: The predominant impediment to the ownership of electric vehicles across the globe is the logistical challenge of determining where and when to charge the vehicles. The charging of electric vehicles is categorized into three levels: Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3. Levels 1 and 2 are predominantly alternating current (AC) charging methods that necessitate the utilization of J1772 or Tesla connectors. Level 1, mainly designed for home use, supports a maximum installation capacity of 120V and can take 8 to 16 hours for a full charge. Level 2 can be employed for home or public charging, offering a charging duration of up to 3 hours and a power delivery of 12kW. Level 3 charging predominantly employs Direct Current (DC) fast chargi ng, such as Tesla supercharging, capable of charging a vehicle from 0 to 80% within 13 to 20 minutes. Currently, Ghana has only four (4) public Level 2 charging stations located in Accra. There are no public DC fast charging stations available in the country at present. The existing DC fast chargers are restricted to private use by fleet operators. This situation poses a challenge for the approximately 17,660 electric vehicle owners in the country as they must scramble for access to the limited charging infrastructure available.
- Reliability of Power Supply: Ghana’s commitment to achieving universal electricity access by 2025, aligned with the Sustainability Development Goal (SDG) targets creating an enabling environment for electric vehicle users nationwide. This commitment is expected to pave way for increased investments in distribution and transmission networks to address intermittent power supply issues. Nonetheless, certain regions, particularly the Northern areas, continue to experience issues of low voltage and intermittent power outages, potentially impeding the widespread adoption of electric vehicles in those areas.
Opportunities for Shippers Ghana’s electric vehicle market is slowly gaining momentum, and this presents shippers with a unique opportunity to play a vital role in supporting the growth of this transformative industry. Some of the opportunities are summed up as follows:
- Supply Chain Integration
In the dynamic landscape of the electric vehicle market in Ghana, importers have a golden opportunity to become instrumental players by establishing efficient and innovative supply chain networks. The projected demand for components and parts, ranging from cutting-edge batteries to i ntricate motors and advanced charging infrastructure components, calls for a strategic approach to ensure the seamless flow of materials and resources. At the core of this opportunity lies the concept of supply chain integration. Importers can act as catalysts by orchestrating a harmonized network that connects suppliers, manufacturers, and distributors in a synchronized dance of supply and demand. By doing so, they can ensure that the right components are available precisely when they are needed, minimizing delays and disruptions that could hinder the growth of the electric vehicle industry in Ghana. By ensuring the availability of electric vehicle parts and components, shippers will contribute to the realization of the government’s vision for cleaner transportation.
2. Export Potential
The Vice President of the Republic of Ghana, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia announced while speaking at the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) International Women’s Conference held on Sunday 11th June 2023 in London that a Ghanaian company is considering setting up an electric vehicle assembling plant in Ghana. The Vice President noted that the electric vehicle assembling plant will add to the vehicle manufacturing companies producing in the country. Most likely, these electric vehicles to be assembled in Ghana will be exported to other parts of the world at large. The benefits will impact Ghana’s foreign exchange, inflation, and the general growth of the economy. Ghana’s strategic location on the West African coast presents a great opportunity for shippers who will venture into the electric vehicle industry. As the electric vehicle industry develops manufacturers may seek to export vehicles and components to neighbouring countries. Shippers could facilitate such cross-border trade, which would open up new avenues for business growth.
3. Battery Logistics
Batteries are the heartbeat of any electric vehicle. Shippers could specialize in the intricacies of battery logistics to meticulously plan the transportation of these vital energy sources. This would involve not only ensuring safe transportation but also adhering to stringent international regulations and best practices for storage and handling. Shippers who master the art of battery logistics would become more than mere transporters; they would become custodians of the industry’s safety and efficiency.
The potential does not stop with logistics. Shippers could broaden their impact by strategically participating in the supply chain of the components of charging infrastructure. The growth of the electric vehicle market is intertwined with the establishment of an extensive charging network. Shippers could engage in the import and movement of charging equipment, to enable the timely setup of charging stations across the nation. By contributing to the efficient deployment of charging infrastructure, shippers would drive the expansion of the electric vehicle ecosystem, to make sustainable transportation more accessible to the all.
4. Importation of New and Used Electric Vehicles
In the evolving landscape of the Ghanaian electric vehicle market, shippers find themselves at a crossroads of opportunity, where their expertise in logistics can make all the difference. As electric vehicle adoption gains remarkable traction among consumers, shippers are poised to play a pivotal and transformative role in the importation of new and used electric vehicles for onward distribution to dealerships and showrooms across the nation. At the heart of this opportunity lies the seamless distribution of electric vehicles, a process that can significantly shape the customer journey and overall market success. With Ghanaians eagerly embracing electric vehicles for their environmental benefits and cutting-edge technology, the stakes are high. Shippers would not just be moving products; but would be orchestrating the symphony that would define the initial experience of electric vehicle ownership.
5. Training and Capacity Building
Findings from the 2022 Ghana Electric Vehicles Baseline Survey Report by the Energy Commission revealed that “the skills for electric vehicle servicing, maintenance and repair are in short supply in Ghana.” As the electric vehicle market evolves, there is a need for skilled professionals in various aspects of the industry, including logistics to bridge the gap identified by the report. Stakeholders such as the Energy Commission of Ghana and the Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA) can contribute by offering training programs and capacity-building initiatives to equip shippers with the requisite knowledge and skills to handle the unique requirements of the electric vehicle sector. One of the areas where expertise will be required is transportation. Electric vehicles have unique transportation requirements due to their sensitive battery technology, specific charging infrastructure, and distinct maintenance needs. By offering training programs, shippers can impart knowledge and expertise in handling, storing, and transporting electric vehicles and components safely and efficiently.
The Regional Shipper Committees of the Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA) provide a suitable platform for the training and capacity building of importers and exporters on the subject matter. It was created to serve as a platform where importers, exporters, shipping and logistics service providers and relevant government agencies would meet on regular basis to deliberate and find solutions to matters affecting the shipping and logistics sector.
Stakeholders in the shipping and logistics sector, particularly importers and exporters are advised to join the Regional Shipper Committee in their location to benefit from the training and capacity building seminars tailored to educate and sensitize importers as the electric vehicle industry takes shape in Ghana.
The shift towards electric vehicles presents an exciting opportunity to reduce carbon emissions and pave the way for a cleaner future. However, it is crucial to acknowledge the concerns raised by stakeholders in their commentary on the subject matter. The overarching concern has been a plea for time to adjust to the new norm. By giving these stakeholders, including importers of used and second-hand vehicles the necessary time and support to adapt to the evolving market, we can ensure that the benefits of electric mobility would be accessible to a wider range of consumers while minimizing disruptions to the used car industry. The plea is well-founded, considering that the emergence of the electric vehicle industry brings along numerous opportunities for shippers. Consequently, they require adequate time to comprehend the new landscape fully, and thereby enable them to reap maximum benefits from the technology.
In conclusion, the electric vehicle market offers shippers diverse opportunities to contribute to industrial growth and sustainability. By seizing these opportunities, shippers position themselves to become catalysts of Ghana’s electric vehicle revolution.
By: Nathaniel Nartey