…As Polish Explorer Arrives Nigeria
Moses Akaigwe 08072100049
Forty two year old Polish explorer Arkady Pawel Fiedler, who in February, inaugurated the first ever Electric Vehicle (EV) expedition with the world’s most popular electric vehicle – Nissan LEAF car from Cape Town South Africa via West Africa to Europe by road has arrived in Nigeria.
Fiedler drove alongside his companion, Albert Wojtowicz, an architect cum photographer in an entirely first generation electric Nissan LEAF car that is powered by a 30kwh battery with a range of 250 kilometres in a period of two months, covering 8,000 kilometres.
Addressing local automobile media at the Stallion NMN showroom in Lagos, Fiedler said, apart from being the first ever electric vehicle expedition across the African continent, the trip aims to build awareness for electric mobility and new cleaner technologies in Africa, Poland and the world at large.
The voyage, according to him, also seeks to change peoples’ perception of the world and human choices with particular recourse to the impact of transport on the environment, Fiedler said.
“Care of the environment, home and family starts with us, with our subjective decisions and this journey are also proof that something apparently impossible can be achieved when given appropriate attitude and determination.”
Fiedler who said the expedition was entirely his idea pointed out that the choice of the electric Nissan LEAF model wasn’t by impulse.
“When it came to considering which kind of electric car I would drive across Africa, we took into account several brands, featuring similar specifications but this particular model was favoured. It has been a proven model since 2010 and just in January 2018, the Nissan-Renault Alliance announced the delivery of the 300, 000th LEAF car sold worldwide.”
“I chose to drive in my own electric Nissan LEAF car bought in 2017 that wasn’t in anyway modified to facilitate this expedition. The car is the standard specification you will find in many European cities.”
Fiedler described Africans as warmth and hospitable and believes they will catch up with on-going technological transformation in Europe and America to also embrace electric mobility and new technology as soon as possible.
“If I can convince someone in Europe that I embarked on a long-haul trip by crossing this massive African continent with an electric vehicle, then it is possible more people will buy a car like this,” he envisioned.
Fiedler however decried the inadequacy of infrastructures such as charging facilities in the course of the journey, which he said is the only limitation to the attainment of complete transition to EVs in Africa.
“While it is rather seamless to get electric sockets to fill the battery in Europe, we have to rely on people to assist us in charging the car battery without which the expedition wouldn’t have been successful,” Fiedler said.
“Travelling across Africa is probably the hardest test for any vehicle – poor roads, limited charging infrastructure and dramatically diverse weather conditions – from equatorial storms to the scorching heat of the Sahara are just few challenges that we had to contend with in this journey.”
He was however thrilled by the level of awareness in Africa, saying EVs aren’t entirely alien to most people in Africa. “Majority of the people wanted to know why the car was silent, and doesn’t use oil or water or emit Co2, just as several others asked how further the car could go after one full charge.”
Stallion NMN head of sales and marketing Amit Sharma who received the duo of Arkady and Albert in Lagos said: “We are proud of this initiative, being the first ever electric vehicle expedition across Africa, and as you all are aware, the Nissan tagline – Innovation that Excites has always kept the brand going – scoring so many FIRSTs in its entire outings.
“Without mincing words, mobility is going electric already and Africa can’t be an exception. We must therefore move along with the entire world as EVs becomes the mobility of the future. We at Stallion NMN cherish this milestone,” Sharma remarked.
“And with on-going provision of infrastructural facilities across the continent and persistent media hype; electric mobility is sure to become an attraction of auto buffs anytime soon, Sharma said.