Meet Mustapha Gajibo Who Converts Petrol Cars To Electric Cars In Borno (Video, Pics)
Deutsche Welle (DW) is the German equivalent of the BBC or the VOA. They did this piece on July 20th, 2020.
DW: We’re in Maiduguri, in Nigeria’s remote north-east to travel on a revolutionary solar-powered bus service that could be the model solution for cities across the world.
We’ll meet Mustapha Gajibo, whose vision has created a cutting edge mobility solution amid the troubles of a crisis region.
And we’ll hear from people about the surprise benefits the new bus service offers them as passengers.
Mustapha Gajibo: The current situation of my country, I would say not only my country but the whole world, the price of fuel is going up, the price of transportation is going up high and with the damage that normal vehicles are causing to our environment, so we decided to come up with this as a solution to solve all these problems.
DW: Mustapha’s team refits gasoline minibuses with electric motors and battery packs. Charging takes 35 minutes for a 150 kilometer range. The energy source is Maiduguri’s plentiful sunshine, captured by more than 150 solar panels.
They’ve so far converted 10 minibuses and more than 50 tricycles that are in service on the roads of Maiduguri.
Small, flexible transport options, such as minibuses are crucial to life in many cities around the world, but most still run on heavily polluting gasoline or diesel. Though Nigeria is one of the world’s biggest oil producers, people in the country regularly suffer from shortages and high prices at the pump.
A ride on these solar-powered buses is not only cheaper, passengers have already picked up on other advantages.
Passenger 1 (speaking Hausa) : Honestly this one is far better than a regular car. This one is faster and makes no noise, it is wonderful.
Passenger 2: When I board this car, there is nothing like: “I am going into the station getting the fuel”, whatever. I have to wait for the driver to get fuel. With this one I just go straight to my business or whatever I want to do within the city.
Passenger 3: (speaking Hausa) : I enjoy boarding this bus because it is silent and is cheap compared to other transport that uses petrol or gas.
Whenever I am going somewhere in this town I wait for this bus to come because it is fast and without delays.
DW: Mustapha currently employs a diverse team of engineers, mechanics, technicians and drivers. A welcome sign of recovery in a remote part of Nigeria that was plagued for more than a decade by the Boko Haram terrorist group.
The insurgency may have seriously set back the regional economy, but Mustapha Gajibo is determined to realise his dream
He dropped out of university to start an electric revolution and named his company “Phoenix Renewables” after the mythical bird that rises from the ashes.
Mustapha Gajibo: The whole brand comes out of Borno State where there is no electricity, where there is no security and access to raw materials is very limited, access to technical manpower is very limited, but we are able to come up with this, such a technology and I believe that whatever is being built and designed out of problems tends to even be more stronger because it will withstand almost all the challenges
DW: Mustapha is already looking beyond adapting combustion vehicles and throughout 2022, his team has been working on its own 12-seater pure electric bus that they have conceived and built from the ground up.
Earlier in 2022 he told us more about the project.
Mustapha Gajibo: We sat down and designed a full bus which will be locally built and fabricated here. So as you can see we have almost reached about 70 to 75 percent completion in the new bus that we are building. When this bus is fully finished it is going to be a 12-seater bus which can cover up to 200 kilometers on one charge and it’s going to have all the features the latest vehicles in the world will have, including voice command systems.
DW: If it sounds like the 29 year-old is dreaming big, it’s because he is. For example, to properly harness solar power, he wants to build a battery gigafactory in Africa.
Mustapha Gajibo aims to develop clean mobility solutions not only for Africa, but on a global scale.
For this young entrepreneur, it looks like the journey is only just beginning.