Written by: Yunus Kemp
Lagos has received its first set of electric buses as Africa’s most populous city tries to cut down carbon emissions through a greener public transport system.
Jubril A Gawat, special advisor to the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who received the buses a few days ago, said the initiative is still at the pilot stage.
“A lot of data gathering will still be done in comparison with the existing BRT system, this means few electric buses will be added to the BRT fleet, it will carry passengers normally, use BRT Lane, Cowry card etc.”
Lagos Bus Services Limited (LBSL) data shows that a normal bus has the capacity to travel about 200km per day (at maximum). The new electric buses has the ability to travel 280km at full charge.
The arrival of the electric buses is the culmination of a memorandum of understanding signed between Oando Clean Energy Limited (OCEL) and Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) in April 2022.
The MoU was to enable the deployment of electric buses and other supporting infrastructure “towards attaining a sustainable road transport system in Lagos State.”
Climate-friendly, bankable energy projects
“Oando Clean Energy Limited is the renewable energy subsidiary of Oando Energy Resources (OER), their agenda is to meet the continent’s energy demands by harnessing renewable sources and investing in climate-friendly and bankable energy projects in Nigeria and Africa as a whole,” said Gawat.
“This is a commitment of both LASG and Oando to cut down greenhouse gases by replacing it with cleaner sources of energy.”
Each bus is kitted with three CCTV cameras, has a capacity to carry 40 passengers and also has standing room and wheelchair access.
Oando will provide charging stations and other supporting infrastructure.
“Once the pilot scheme shows all the positive signs as expected, aside from bringing more buses into the fleet of the regular BRTs, there are plans to establish an assembly plant for electric buses in future,” said Gawat.
Sanwo-Olu said this project is part of the state’s “increased effort to modernise every sector of Lagos.”
“With the ability to travel 280km at full charge, taking into account our unique travel times in Lagos, our electric buses are a game-changer. With an average daily usage of 200km by existing BRTs, there is no need to fear that the buses can stop while in transit.
Electric buses set to counter pollution caused by heavy traffic in Lagos
“Our new electric buses will not only reduce carbon emissions but will also increase efficiency. We shall be running a pilot scheme over the next few months to gather sufficient data required to analyse the operational efficiencies relative to the current BRT buses to further improve our public transport service.”
Air pollution in Lagos is between six and 10 times the maximum level recommended by the World Health Organization.
“Open burning of waste and biomass is the top cause of air pollution in Lagos, followed by dust and industrial activities. Heavy traffic also contributes to pollution: without a functioning mass transit system, most people move around in mini-buses and motorcycles with old, highly-pollutant engines.
“Generators are ubiquitous and another cause for concern: they provide as much as 50% of the total energy demand,” a World Bank blog on Lagos’ pollution levels said.