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Pioneering Reskilling and Capacity Development For E-Mobility in Africa: The Genesis of EVTT

By: Gad Senyuiedzorm Ashiagbor

In 2017, I found myself captivated by a momentous event: Elon Musk delivering the first Tesla Model 3 vehicles to customers in California. This marked the arrival of the first truly mass-market electric vehicle (EV). While the subsequent production challenges were un-anticipated, they seemed secondary to the broader implications of this innovation.

The Significance of Affordable EVs for Africa

The introduction of an affordable EV sparked numerous questions in my mind about its potential impact on Africa. How would it reshape our transport systems, urban planning, culture, economics, and politics? It became evident that the adoption rate of e-mobility in Africa would hinge on overcoming several barriers.

Analyzing Barriers to E-Mobility Adoption

To understand these barriers, I developed a visualization tool, represented by a triangle with three key edges:

1. Price: Encompasses the entire cost of acquiring an EV, including purchase price, duties, insurance, financing, and licensing.
2. Infrastructure: Covers the necessary support systems such as charging stations, road infrastructure, and payment systems.
3. After-Sales Support: Involves a robust ecosystem for repair and maintenance, including skilled technicians and readily available spare parts.

A detailed exploration of these barriers will be discussed in a separate article. For now, it’s important to note that addressing these barriers requires comprehensive capacity building and skill development across various sectors.

Gaps in Knowledge and Skills

Key players in the e-mobility ecosystem in Africa face significant knowledge and skill gaps:

  • Repair and Maintenance Technicians: Essential for after-sales support.
  • Transport and Energy Policymakers: Crucial for informed policy decisions.
  • Transport and Energy Regulators: Vital for effective regulation.
  • Finance and Insurance Industries: Important for affordability and access to capital.
  • Educational Institutions: Necessary for workforce training and public education.
  • Developmental Agencies and CSOs: Key drivers of the e-mobility agenda.
  • Media Practitioners: Crucial for raising awareness and disseminating information.

The Birth of AfricaNEV and EVTT

On that fateful night, the seeds of AfricaNEV were sown. Realizing that Africa was not a primary focus for major EV manufacturers like Tesla, it became clear that we needed to drive our own e-mobility agenda. One of the key ideas born from this realization was the “Electric Vehicle Technical/Technician Training Program” (EVTT).

EVTT: Addressing Capacity Building in E-Mobility

The EVTT was designed to address the skill development needs specific to the African context, considering our existing automobile industry and attitudes towards training. Key features of the EVTT include:

  • Hands-On Approach: Using the show-tell method to ensure practical competence.
  • City-Based Model: Recognizing that e-mobility adoption will initially be city-led.
  • Continental Scope: Aiming for broad impact across Africa, irrespective of national boundaries.
  • Language Considerations: Primarily using English, with flexibility for other languages based on cohort needs.
  • Competent Trainers: Focusing on trainers with high practical competence and deep understanding of EV systems.
  • Modular Courses: Ensuring each course is a self-contained unit.
  • Short Duration: Limiting each cohort to no more than seven days to minimize disruption.
  • Comprehensive Curriculum: Addressing current skill gaps and enhancing existing skills.

Evolution of EVTT

Initially conceived in 2017, the formal curriculum for EVTT1 was developed in 2019. This introductory program has since expanded to include more advanced courses, such as EVTT2, which covers high and low voltage systems for both assembly line workers and repair technicians. Work is underway on the EVTT3 curriculum to cover all relevant technical areas for EV training.

Impact and Objectives of EVTT

EVTT1, our flagship program, has successfully trained diverse cohorts, including participants from non-technical backgrounds. The program’s core involves a complete teardown and reassembly of an electric vehicle, ensuring practical competence. Objectives and outcomes of EVTT1 include:

  • Comprehensive understanding of e-mobility threats and opportunities.
  • Hands-on insights into EV architecture and battery systems.
  • Proficiency in addressing EV issues and performing routine maintenance.
  • Skill development for technicians and youths.
  • Enhanced research and development in EV technology.
  • Promotion of EV adoption across Africa.
  • Contribution to achieving SDGs 8 and 13.

Changing With The Times

The above chart is representative of how innovation spreads. As of today, now single African country has 1% of its annual vehicle sales been electric. As the market grows and evolves, the skills gaps, training methods, training modules and content will need to change as well.

So, if you are interested in the e-mobility space or are a technician looking to enhance your skills, our training programs will be highly beneficial.
You can reach out to us: [email protected]

Gad Senyuiedzorm Ashiagbor is the founder and Executive Director of AfricaNEV

About the author

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VUKA Group serves as Africa’s central nexus for conferences and media publications across key sectors. With 20 years of expertise as a trusted media partner, we allow those with valuable insight to contribute to building a platform of collaboration to shape Africa’s future for the better
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