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Ethiopia Launches Largest Electric Vehicle Factory in Debre Berhan

Ekene Lionel Avatar
Ethiopia electric vehicle


Debre Berhan, Amhara Region, Ethiopia — In a significant step toward sustainable transportation, Ethiopia has inaugurated its largest electric vehicle (EV) factory in Debre Berhan. The facility, built by local entrepreneur Belayneh Kinde at a cost exceeding $52 million, is poised to produce approximately 1,000 electric cars annually.

Ethiopia’s commitment to green mobility is evident in its ambitious plans. As part of the 10-year Perspective Development Plan, the country aims to import 4,800 electric buses and 148,000 electric cars. Last year, the government took a decisive step by banning non-electric car imports and introducing tax breaks for electric vehicles. This move aligns with global efforts to reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change.

Despite the promising developments, Ethiopia faces challenges. The economic landscape, marked by foreign currency shortages, has impacted previous initiatives. Notably, the partnership between Ethiopian businessman and Olympian Haile Gebreselassie and Hyundai to establish an EV assembly plant faltered due to these constraints. However, the new EV factory signals renewed optimism and determination.

One critical factor in the success of electric mobility is infrastructure. Ethiopia’s $5 billion Grand Renaissance Dam, though unrelated to EVs, plays a pivotal role. The dam’s completion will enhance the electricity network, providing the necessary power for charging stations and supporting the growing fleet of electric vehicles.

A Green Future

Electric vehicle (EV) sales have surged, with growth in all three top auto markets: China, the US, and Europe. Sales increased by 160% in the first half of 2021 from a year earlier, to 2.6 million units, representing 26% of new sales in the global automotive market.

China remained the world’s top EV market, with 1.1 million vehicles sold in the first half, accounting for 12% of sales. In the US, EVs have been less popular. Only 250,000 units were sold, accounting for 3% of sales.

The Ministry of Transport’s recent announcement underscores Ethiopia’s commitment. Over 100,000 electric cars have been brought into the country, and 60 charging stations have been established in Addis Ababa. These efforts not only promote green transportation but also position Ethiopia as a regional leader in sustainable mobility.

As the EV factory in Debre Berhan begins production, it represents a significant milestone in Ethiopia’s journey toward a cleaner, more efficient transportation system. With continued investment and strategic planning, the country can pave the way for a greener future