Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine

Ghana's 'Delorean' car?

An electric-powered Peugeot 205 fitted with a new type of battery. The manufacturers claim a breakthrough that has brought the mass production of the electric car nearer. It gives the French car a top speed of 62 mph and a range of 87 miles. The Danish-made Hope Whisper has a top speed of 44 mph and a range of 62 miles.
Are Ghana's transportation problems about to be solved with the importation of Danish-made electric cars? Or is there a 'John Delorean' car incident in the making in Denmark?

These and other attendant questions have been agitating the Danish press in recent weeks, much of which are convinced that they are on the trail of a gigantic hoax.

It all started on June 5, 1984 when the 'B├śRSEN' the prestigious Danish financial daily newspaper published along with other papers some 'electrifying' news from Mr Thure Barsoe-Carnfeldt the Managing Director of Hope Computer Corporation. Mr Barsoe-Carnfeldt announced that his company, which had made the prototype electric car had signed two major contracts to export the cars to the United States of America and Ghana.

His announcement said that his company had signed contracts to export 226,000 of the electric cars to the United States and 700 to Ghana of which 200 will be exported in 1985 and 500 in 1986.

Because of the energy-nervous temperament in the Scandanavian countries, this announcement of the proposed manufacture of a Danish made electric car caused such excite- ment that within three days of the company floating shares to the public, they were all bought up on the strength of the two contracts.

The Danish press then started investigations which took them to the US and the realisation that even though there was indeed a contract signed for the importation of 226,000 of the electric-powered cars into the US, the contract did not appear to be worth the paper on which it was written.

The Ghana connection has proved a little more difficult to untangle. The company that signed the contract is Oturoh Electrical Services of P.O. Box 3925, and 799/4 Granville Avenue, Accra, telephone number 63999 Accra, and the contract was signed by Messrs Otuo Mensah and N. Essel said to be resident in London.

Danish sources have said that the Ghanaian company will start manufacturing the cars in Ghana under licence from Hope Computer Corporation in 1987 and among the credentials offered by Oturoh Electrical Services, included an assertion by the two directors that they have an uncle who is a prominent Secretary in the PNDC government and a claim that they own the biscuit factory in Ghana and an ammunition factory also.

Observers in Denmark have been intrigued by certain aspects of the whole deal. Why, for example, would Ghana choose to sign a contract with a Danish company which has only made a prototype of the electric car and at 50,000 Danish kroner (the equivalent of $5,000) when the Japanese, British and the French are already far ahead in the electric powered car industry and sell their cars at $3,000.

Talking Drums had not been able to ascertain the validity of the claims made by Oturoh Electrical Services, but one thing is certain there is no ammunition for them.

talking drums 1984-07-30 Ghana A Danish Electric car deal - who will lead the parties in Liberia