A uniquely built set of automobiles that will change the experience of African automobile users has been in the works. JET Motor Company ( JET Systems), a Nigerian auto manufacturing company has been working on vehicles with optimum specifications for the Nigerian and African environment.
After about three years of research, testing and iterative development, some of the earliest outputs of the company’s effort are the JET EV, Africa’s first all-electric vehicle, and the JET Mover, a luxury, durable, yet affordable minibus built specifically for African roads.
The crucial point to note is that the vehicles are designed specifically to traverse the African clime. On its bespoke value, Rupani Sanjay, JET Motor Company’s Director of Sales and Marketing explained:
“The JET Mover is a combination of the best design and technology practices from Europe and Asia, tropicalised for Africa. The shock absorbers are stronger than average, ground clearance is higher, tire sizes are bigger. Generally, our testing has led us to see what is best for the Nigerian and African market and that is what we have built with JET Mover”
You may ask, why the focus on African roads, Sanjay has this to say:
” We wanted to create a global product that is built to last. We were obsessed with getting it right because, if our vehicles can work well on Nigerian and African roads, they can succeed anywhere in the world.”
The Rubbers are Hitting the Road
Following successful prototyping, JET Motor Company was able to engage leading inter-state transporter, GIGM as an early adopter, making it one of the first to live-test the vehicle.
Impressed, the company has since signed an agreement for delivery of 2,000 units of the JET Mover to replace their fleet over the next 3 years. The first set of delivered vehicles are currently in use along its major routes in Nigeria and Ghana.
Already in use by the Edo, Delta and Lagos state governments, a long line of other government bodies, major road transport companies and NGOs are waiting in line for delivery of their pre-orders.
Sanjay attributes the overflow of demand to the focus on versatility, durability and adaptability, all of which have propelled the JET brand and its flagship vehicle ahead of long-standing rivals with global names behind them.
Having obtained the relevant licenses, JET Motor Company is already expanding into an assembly plant in Lagos that is over 2 acres to meet demand. By the second quarter of 2020, the assembly plant is expected to attain a capacity of 5,000 vehicles annually.
The Early Wins are Massive!
According to Sanjay, “There is such a long waiting list that we can barely keep up with the current demand”.
This is owing to the fact that beyond durability, the JET Mover is also built for luxury and versatility. The premium passenger version of the JET Mover is a 13-seater with leather seats and personalised entertainment systems for each passenger.
The JET Mover can also be customised for various other uses like cargo, medical emergencies, as a school bus or for military use.
In all these, the company has been able to maintain a competitive price point. Commenting on this, Oluwemimo Joseph, Strategy & Projects Head and Chief Financial Officer of JET Motor Company said:
“For now, we are not as focused on profitability as we are on becoming the first truly Nigerian brand delivering on quality and affordability. The JET Mover currently offers more value for money than the closet competition.”
Africa’s first all-electric vehicle, JET EV, Is in the Works…
The JET EV is JET’s electricity-powered bus project. Already well into the research and development phase, current JET EV prototypes can be driven for over 300 kilometres on a single charge. According to the team, The plan is to begin testing them in real-life situations as soon as possible.
“We have already signed a contract with industry leader, GIG Logistics (GIGL) to supply over 50 electric JET EV buses over the next 2 years. We plan to commence testing in Q3 2020, utilising GIGL pickup centres between Lagos and Benin as charging points.”Rupani Sanjay, JET Motor Company’s Director of Sales and Marketing
Recently, JET closed a private round of financing from the Canadian-based Africa Development Capital, Greatmand Legend, as well as a number of Asian investors. The cash injection, which is solely for research and development, will enable the company to develop its EVs as well as introduce other lines of vehicles including, pickups, SUVs sedans etc.
Sanjay highlighted that the company will require a review of Nigeria’s automotive policy to be able to carry on smooth testing operations in 2020.