Segun Oyeyiola’s parents were always telling him, “you better find something better to do. Your siblings have completed their first degrees and rather than you do some stupid things.” Those “stupid things”, in Segun’s case, included building Nigeria’s first solar-electric car on the bones of an old Type 1 Bug.
At first, Segun says he was discouraged by people who said that no Nigerian has ever done it, and “they were saying the truth! But I was not deterred.”
As for the car itself, details are scarce. Given then size of the solar panel and (what I assume to be) the lack of access to modern li-ion or li-air batteries, I’d have to assume that the range and speed of the solar-electric VW are pretty limited. Certainly not enough to take on the ubiquitous Honda CG110 motorcycles that dominate Nigerian roads. Still, it’s something. “It will ease our movement from our house to the office,” Segun is quoted as saying, “to market, and to church.”
The construction of an electric car- even as a proof of concept!- is a big deal in a country where companies like Shell pay the local militia groups to suppress uprisings and maintain Nigeria’s status quo. Seen in that light, Segun’s car is a brave project. Good on him, then.