These Electric Vehicles Are Designed For African Roads
Electric vehicles (EVs) are still rare sights on African roads. The reason is partly because of the lack of charging stations. The other major reason is that their manufacturers often don’t factor rough African roads into their designs. According to the WHO global status report on road safety in 2018, Africa has the highest death toll from road accidents. This sad fact is tied to the poor and often deteriorating condition of African roads.
Well, electric cars may be far from becoming a common sight on the road but what about electric bikes? A Nigerian entrepreneur by the name of Tolulope Williams is putting the nuts and bolts on this. What is more fascinating is the diversity of electric vehicles his company SILTECH is offering. Keep reading to find out more.
The Entrepreneur Behind the Electric Vehicle Company SILTECH
Tolulope Williams was supposed to train as a lawyer but he had other plans for himself. From a tender age, he was a fan of toy cars and bikes. Apparently, that fascination followed him to adulthood. In an interview, he recounts his childhood memories.
“Law really wasn’t my passion, to be honest. If you knew me from a young age and came to my room, you would see toy cars arranged everywhere.”
On one trip outside Nigeria, Willams got himself an electric bike. However, bringing it home, he realized that his bike needed a better suspension to survive Nigerian roads. This setback will later inspire the start of his company. The goal? To tackle the low availability of electric vehicles (EVs) and at the same time make these vehicles safe for African roads.
His love for his new bike, at some point, drew him into learning how to personally fix the suspension, work on the controllers and increase the battery capacity. Riding his uncommon bike brought a lot of attention. Paystack co-founder Ezra Olubi who was his neighbor at that time took interest in the bike. It was the last piece of the puzzle to turn his passion into a business.
Consequently, Williams engaged in virtual and physical lessons that will help him build his business. He said, “Yeah, there was a lot of YouTube, and I also did a lot of schooling in Asia as well”. This required his participation in training courses offered by established electric vehicle (EV) companies. Eventually, he gathered enough knowledge to start SILTECH.
What SILTECH stands for
SILTECH stands for Savenhart Investment Limited Technologies. It is a passion-born business started in 2012 by the young Nigerian lawyer and entrepreneur. The company has witnessed tremendous progress against all odds. This is largely due to its great leadership, dedicated staff, and relevant strategy. Williams explains the key to the success of his business so far.
“I realised that the key to all this is really the suppliers. It is getting the right chain of suppliers and ensuring you have the right warranty for all these kinds of technologies.”
However, the work doesn’t just end with getting the products or technology. Williams further indicated that his company which is made up of a small but growing team had to become really hands-on. The purpose for getting hands-on was to develop familiarity doing quality technical services for electric vehicles (EVs). This, in turn, is what leads to the sale of final products that are more adapted for use in the locality.
The adaptability of SILTECH bikes is visible in the range you can cover on each charge. Perhaps, that is why there is a high demand for the bikes. Some battery sizes can allow to ride up to 46km. This will take you from Lekki to Ikeja in Lagos State, Nigeria. Two or three of these can take you on a 131km ride from Lagos state to Ibadan in Oyo State. Concerning the demand for the product, the company recorded its highest purchase in 2020 and in early 2021.
There’s a little more to this E-Mobility Company
In addition to the sale of locally tweaked bikes, the company has eyes on everything else. For example, it currently provides consultation for security companies in need of silent electric vehicles for patrol. The founder also noted the company’s interest in agriculture saying,
“We have utility vehicles that can pull load as well.” Moreover, SILTECH is looking to play an active role in refineries across Africa. Williams explained that “there’s a limit to what combustion engines can do in the oil and gas industry.”