Namibian EV Conversion Start-Up Upcycles Fuel With Electricity

As the EV market is becoming more and more competitive, e-Car Namibia is offering a smart alternative to purchasing new cars.
Utku Kucukduner

The idea of electric vehicles gets more and more lucrative with each passing day owing to technological advancements in the field. Cheaper, better batteries hit the market while more infrastructure investments are made.

Though, for the time being, getting an EV may prove slight challenges. In developed countries, it may take up to 6 months to get your hands on an EV of your liking. So in Africa, a place where EV entrepreneurs generally do not set their primary focus on, the wait may even be longer.

A novel alternative to get your hands on an EV

That's why EV enthusiasts in Africa are shifting their focus on a different route, namely, EV upcycling. Converting vehicles with stock internal combustion engines into electric ones was mainly a hobbyist thing in the past, but an organization called e-Car Namibia seeks to change that for the good of the environment.

Battery pack for an EV, Source: RudolfSimon/Wikimedia

Type of cars that are sought after

When it comes to the EV market in Africa, there is an interest towards converted off-road 4x4's, especially Land Cruiser models. While e-car Namibia is able to upcycle any vehicle into an electric one, they mostly work on this particular model along with delivery vans. With the increase in demand towards home-delivery services during recent years, focusing on delivery vans is a well thought out plan for the long term.


Land Cruiser. Source pxfuel
Land Cruiser, Source: pxfuel

Who may benefit from upcycling

e-Car Namibia aims to reach people affiliated with game driving, mining, lodging, farming, and the government as they mostly use their vehicles in a localized manner. Though, many people are tentative against EVs mainly due to their perceived short mileage per charge. Yet the pace at which batteries are improving may shatter this perception soon.

Other endeavors of e-Car Namibia

Apart from tending to desires of Namibian EV enthusiasts, e-Car Namibia also has plans to import foreign EVs into Namibia, set up a carbon-neutral charging network via solar-power tech and an electric-powered public transportation system. 

Namibian EV Conversion Start-Up Upcycles Fuel With Electricity
E-Cruiser, Source: e-Car Namibia

The Challenges

As with any start-up company, this one is also facing hurdles. The most evident hindrance is, of course, the cost of conversion and consumers in Namibia are highly sensitive to the cost of commodities. The cost of conversion is highly dependent on battery pack prices, the problem here is the taxes and duties on batteries in Namibia. It would help the emerging EV market tremendously if the Namibia officials reduced, or even, abolished taxation on batteries.

But the good news is, there is a movement driven by the company asking for a more EV technology-friendly environment, and so far, they seem to be gaining the support of authorities.

Outlook for the global EV market

According to Electric Vehicle Outlook 2020 from BloombergNEF, EV sales rocketed from 450.000 in 2015 to 2.100.000 in 2019. The sales are expected to plummet during 2020 due to COVID-19. But sales are expected to recover in the following years as the EV technology improves, and by 2030 the number of EVs sold is forecast as 116.000.000. 

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