Oando Clean Energy Limited (OCEL), a renewable energy business subsidiary of Oando Plc, has announced it has received electric mass transit buses that will kick start the sustainable transport initiative in Lagos State, Nigeria’s commercial capital.

The announcement was contained in the notice sent to the Nigerian Exchange Group(NGX) wherein OCEL stated that the delivery of the electric vehicles was part of its commitment to the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) to enable the successful deployment of an electric vehicle infrastructure ecosystem involving electric buses, charging stations, and other supporting infrastructure “towards the attainment of a sustainable road transport system in Lagos State.”

According to OCEL, the memorandum of understanding which was signed in 2022, was meant to “bridge the gap in the current mass transit bus system for the increasing number of Lagos commuters and make up a significant part of the State Government’s larger drive to improve mass transit infrastructure.”

“In line with its culture of excellence, OCEL, partnered with Yutong Bus Co Limited, the world’s largest electric vehicle manufacturer to produce the electric buses, equipped with air conditioning and Wi-Fi. In addition to the arrival of these electric buses, OCEL has also taken delivery of the charging stations and spare parts necessary to ensure their effective operation.

“Consequently, and in line with the provisions of the partnership between OCEL and LAMATA, the receipt of both the buses and charging stations marks the commencement of our Sustainable Transport Initiative, which is one of the Company’s pipeline projects to support Nigeria in meeting her goal of net zero by 2060,” OCEL stated.

The agreement between the parties will see to the deployment of over 12,000 electric buses in Lagos State, helping to transition the current combustion mass transit buses to electric buses, and with a view to generating for Lagos State about $2.6 billion as estimated economic cost savings, create 3,000 employment opportunities for drivers and 2,000 job openings for other support staff.

Frank Lee, managing director of Yutong West Africa expressed his satisfaction on the progress being made on the project.

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He said: “This is a watershed moment for Yutong. It is our first delivery of electric mass transit buses in Sub-Saharan Africa and the first step in the large-scale deployment of an electric powered public road transport system in Nigeria.

“We are excited to be embarking on this journey in partnership with Oando, an organization with a history of stellar performance in the energy sector and are hopeful to see a quick turnaround in our joint plans to advance all facets of the country’s transition to eco-friendly vehicles, including the development of local capacity through the delivery of, and exposure to extensive training programs for all stakeholders, from drivers to operators and the regulators.”

Adewale Tinubu, the Chairman, OCEL spoke further on the transactions.

He said: “Audacity and innovation have always been key tenets in our journey to transform Nigeria’s energy future. It’s this spirit that has brought us to this juncture today – at the forefront of propelling Nigeria towards realizing her netzero targets. The arrival of our electric mass transit buses and development of an EV infrastructure ecosystem is a reminder that the only way to remain ahead of the curve is by being unafraid to break new ground and consistently looking for opportunities to leapfrog.

“Furthermore, this project underscores the African saying, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.’ Public-Private Partnerships have been critical to getting the project to this point and will continue to fuel our expansion across the entire country.”

The global electric bus market was worth $40 billion in 2022 with 112,041 units according to Markets and Markets, and it is expected to hit 671,285 units in 2027, growing at 43.1 percent compounded annual growth rate. The Asia Pacific countries are expected to experience the fastest growth rates especially in Japan, South Korea, China and India.