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BusinessEV assembly nears completion, costs nearly 1 billion birr

EV assembly nears completion, costs nearly 1 billion birr

40 charging stations are already installed

A new assembly line factory for electric vehicles (EVs) is three months away from its inauguration.

Green Technologies Ethiopia’s decision to enter the assembly sector coincided with the increased emphasis placed on electric vehicles as authorities rush to replace fuel automobiles in order to save money spent on petroleum imports.

The company is one of the pioneers who entered the electric car import sector soon after the initiative was launched by government.

After seeing a growing customer demand, it decided to expand its business into assembly.

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The company invested nearly one billion birr to finalize the factory at Sendafa, 33 kilometers east of the capital.

“We will know the exact expense only once the assembly line is finalized,” Fitsum Deresa, CEO of Green Technologies Ethiopia, said.

Green tech has already reached an agreement with a foreign electric car manufacturer to source the components and assemble them under their brand, according to Fitsum.

“We will disclose it soon. The manufacturer provides technical support and trains our professionals. This also helps after-sales maintenance,” she said.

The company plans to assemble 600 EVs in the first six months. It plans to produce at least 1,000 EVs in the next year.

For the CEO, the problem is not assembly.

“The major problem is importing the components since there is a critical problem in accessing foreign currency. We will start assembling automobiles and then continue with other features,” Fitsum explained.

The National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) has allowed Green Tech to use supply credit, Fitsum says.

He says the company has installed 40 public electric charging stations at different locations so far, but it has become a challenge regarding pricing and other indications because there is no legislation or manual for electric charging stations.

“Ethiopia has to introduce such legislation to open it up as a business frontier for investors. For now, we provide the charging services for EVs for Green Transport, known as Go Green,” said Fitsum.

The electric charging stations are installed in public spaces, in front of supermarkets, hotels, and other spaces. Some of the locations include the Hilton Hotel and the Hyatt Regency. Currently, Green Tech is preparing to install the station at the Sheraton Hotel.

The federal government is working on an electric mobility (e-mobility) program, with the policy already legislated and incentives introduced. It is also included in the tax system now, although at a lower rate.

The new tax system encourages the assembly of EVs rather than imports. However, EV importers, assemblers and users complain that there are number of challenges detrimental to the newly emerging sector. Especially the high insurance premium, absence of legislations that guide the EV market, lack of infrastructure and professionals in green mobility, are among the bottlenecks.

In cooperation with other stakeholders and partners, Green Tech has trained professionals that can install EV charging stations, maintain them, and inspect EVs. The first batch of trainees, consisting of 25 trainees, graduated last week, while an additional 33 are currently training.

There are 3,500 electric vehicles imported to Ethiopia, as per the assessments done by Green Tech last month, according to Fitsum. But by now, the number is expected to be much higher. Car importers are importing five EVs monthly on average, with some importers even bringing up to 20 EVs per month. The figure continues to rise significantly.

Currently, local EV importers are participating in a bid floated by the Addis Ababa city administration to procure 200 EVs.

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