A group of University of Lagos (UNILAG) Engineering students have designed a zero emission car, which they named DOVE P1. The students showcased the eco-friendly car last Wednesday, August 19 at the exhibition event held at the Julius Berger hall of the university.

DOVE P1 is an electric car with zero emission; it has a total weight of 200kg with a single passenger seat and has four wheels with rear wheel drive. It has a speed limit of 15km/hr., this being the speed limit within the premises of Unilag. The car has a tabular space frame chassis and a 16-inch diameter tires.

The project termed DOVE initiative was initiated by Olukoya Olusanya, a graduate of Mechanical Engineering of the university. According to him, the project began in 2014 while he and other members of the team were still students of the institution.

He explained that the car was built with locally sourced materials and it doesn’t emit gas nor utilise fossil fuel, which makes it an eco-friendly car.

Olukoya who noted that the car was designed out of their curiosity to do something practical, thanked the school’s management for providing students an enabling environment to learn and practice.

He explained further that he and his team members were interested in design and innovation and wanted an opportunity to show what they were capable of, adding that they intend to create such platform for interested Nigerian youths to leverage their potential.

‘The project DOVE initiative is a design and innovation group set up to spur youth to design and create vehicles of the future in Nigeria.

“DOVE is an acronym for Designed for Zero Vehicle Emission. We want to create pure, clean, eco-friendly and energy efficient cars, and this informed our resolve to build an electric car against the conventional cars.”

“Electric cars have several advantages, and besides, the world is running out of fossil fuels. Electric cars will ultimately reduce the effects of climate change in our communities,” he stressed.

The DOVE initiative, he said, is a long term project that would eventually transform to a business idea and would soon launch several other cars in sequel to DOVE P1.

While showing a technical presentation of DOVE P1, Peace Omoruyi, a 500level student of mechanical engineering and Administrator of the DOVE initiative, said DOVE P2 which would be developed soon would have several improvements over DOVE P1.

According to him, the DOVE P2 would have a perfect ergonometric design, accident prevention system, finger print anti-theft technology as well as an enhanced synergy between human comfort and design.

The ground breaking exhibition was witnessed by several dignitaries including representatives from the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) as well as the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Corporation, Mr. F.A Akandu.

In his remarks, the VC, Prof. Rahmon Bello, who was represented by the Dean, Faculty of Engineering, Prof. A.O Fakinlade, congratulated the young inventors and expressed hope that the project would be a continuous one.

‘We should learn from countries that have a vibrant automobile industry, because how fast our automobile industry moves depends on how fast we can learn’, he said. He also charged other students of the institution to emulate such projects.

The Managing Director of Elizade Nigeria limited, Mr Adedamola Adeojo, expressed pleasure in seeing the development of local technology as exhibited by the young engineers.

“We are here to celebrate ingenuity of the Nigerian youth; I see inventions like this transforming an army of jobless Nigerian youth to an army of transformers’. He encouraged the inventors of DOVE P1 to transform the project into a business idea.

Professor Oluremi Olatunbosun, who is the Head of Automotive Engineering laboratory, University of Birmingham, said he was impressed by the efforts made by the team.

Oluremi also expressed optimism that this would be a start of many of such projects in Nigeria, noting that it would provide jobs for people in the manufacturing industry.

“One of the areas we can create jobs is manufacturing industry and that is how countries like China and Singapore developed.”

He however warned the inventors against building cars that are beyond the reach of average Nigerians while encouraging them to turn the project into a business idea.

The Lagos State governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, represented by Mr. Akandu, expressed the interest of the State government to maintain good relationship with the inventors of DOVE P1, noting that it would bring immense opportunities to the teeming population of youth in the state.

He also stressed the commitment of the state government in developing the education sector and promised that the government would in all capacities encourage science and technology education.

Maduka Smart, a final year student of Mechanical Engineering and member of the DOVE initiative, while unveiling the inventors’ plan for the future said they would like to take to take the initiative beyond Unilag and also solicited support from Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) and other engineering societies.

The NSE pledged its support through Engr. Tunde Jayesinmi who represented the body. The body also expressed hope for a cordial relationship between the two parties.