Nigeria has officially joined the race for electric vehicles with its first electric rickshaw, also known as Keke.
When Ifeanyi Nnamdi Okafor, from Achara Umuchu in Aguata LGA Anambra State, finished his first degree in Archaeology and Tourism from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, nothing ever told him he would ever become an engineer let alone one of the best innovators in the world.
Today, Okafor is a proud innovator and automaker who invented the first electric powered rickshaw, popularly called Keke, in Nigeria. This is arguably the first in Africa.
Electric Keke at the skeletal stage through research, he was able to figure out how to power the rickshaw with battery and solar energy.
But there is more. He is also currently working on an electric motorcycle and electric bicycle.
Did you hear that? Electric bicycle!
The unique aspect of this technology is that it is noiseless and environment-friendly.
This is in line with global auto trends.
A lot of countries in Europe are already planning to phase out petrol cars. In fact, some countries have set 2025 as the year they would transition to green energy completely.
Who knows? With Okafor’s effort, maybe Nigeria can join them. Imagine having a Keke and Okada that does not make noise!
Mr. Okafor’s electric-Keke at the development stage
Okafor’s electric Keke does not have any silencer, because there is no combustion engine. In fact, it does not have any engine. Instead, it has six batteries, four at the back under the passenger’s seat, and two at the front under the driver’s seat.
The six batteries will be able to power the Keke for 120km before it runs down. It also has an indicator to tell when to charge the battery and when the battery is full just like your phone.
In addition, there are variants of the Keke. There will be one battery, two batteries, just any battery specification you want, up to ten batteries.
Mr Ifeanyi told [url] Autosage [/url] that in order to make the Keke affordable to people, the price has to come down. After all, the Keke is not only for commercial use only.
Farmers and market women can own Keke to ferry their goods from the farm to the market and from market to home. It is the best way to reduce the cost of moving people and goods from one place to another.
The electric-Keke battery compartment can take 1-10 batteries
What is even more interesting is that apart from the battery, there’s a provision for solar power. Mr Okafor knows that Nigeria mostly has sunlight, and there is no better vehicle to trap this free gift of nature than the Keke.
It is always on the road under the hot sun, why not take advantage of the free energy. When the Keke is using solar, the battery is resting, just like hybrid cars.
The tricycle runs at 50km/ph which is the speed limit for now; to avoid accidents on the road. Compared to the petrol-powered keke of 56km/ph.
According to Mr. Okafor, the safety of the driver and the passenger is of utmost importance to him. He also said that he plans to take advantage of safety technology to protect the Keke from theft.
Electric-Keke the dash board infotainment also regulates speed and shows battery consumption
Mr. Okafor’s electric-Keke dash board. It includes infotainment, speedometer and shows battery consumption level. There is music player to keep you company.
“An app will be made in order to register each tricycle, which will enable it be tracked in case of theft,” he said.
“For now, there is no commercialization” he said. “But on Friday 27 August, 2018 I will publicly announce how much it will be for sale and how it works too and how it’s being maintained.”
He, however, appealed to private investors and the Federal Government of Nigeria to assist him deliver this revolutionary product to the Nigerian public.
So far, he has funded the project from his pockets.
Meanwhile, come Friday, 24 August, we will be proud to witness the first made-in-Nigeria electric keke as it goes on it’s first public display in Aba, Abia State.