Jelani Aliyu, a Nigerian designer who designed a globally renowned electric car, the Chevrolet Volt was recently appointed by President Buhari as the director-general of the Nigerian Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC).
The Chevrolet Volt has been described as a modern day revolutionary product, one that would change the world.
As the head of the council, Aliyu, would be in charge of implementing new development policies for Nigeria’s automobile industry.
Here is a brief biography on Aliyu.
Jelani Aliyu is a Muslim who was born in Kaduna, in 1966 to parents, Aliya Haidara and Sharifiya Aliyu, from Sokoto state. He is the fifth of seven children.
He attended Capital School, Sokoto from 1971 to 1978. In 1978, he gained admission into Federal Government College, Sokoto, and graduated in 1983 with an award as best in Technical Drawing. Aliyu went to Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, for his A-levels. He later dropped out and enrolled in the Birnin Kebbi Polythechnic in Kebbi state, where he graduated as the best all-round student and earned a degree in Architecture.
Like every genius, Aliyu wanted to learn more so in 1990, he went ahead to study Transportation Design at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. He was able to further his education in Detroit on a Sokoto state government scholarship and he graduated in 1994.
After graduation, he was immediately noticed by an American multinational corporation that designs and markets vehicles, General Motors. GM vehicles are sold under various brands such as, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Holden and many more. He began his career as a design staff at General Motors in 1994 and he has been with GM since then. Jelani Aliyu is considered by many as the super star of the General Motors renaissance.
Aliyu expressed that he has always been inspired by nature, things that surrounds him and his imagination. For a man with a mind like his, that simply means he sees ideas in everything and everywhere. In an interview with Daily Trust, in 2016, Aliyu said: “Growing up, I’ve always loved science fiction and in the movies you’d see a lot of alien spacecraft and other futuristic, imaginative things that would inspire me to look beyond. I also love cars a lot, even though then we didn’t have Ferraris in Sokoto. But we did have magazines in which I saw them and they inspired me, too. So I put together my love for drawing and cars and decided to be a car designer.”
His dreams for Nigeria Aliyu says he wants an automobile industry in Nigeria that designs vehicles for Nigerians, a vehicle that tune into the history and culture of Nigeria. “A Nigerian vehicle that is conceptualized, designed and developed by Nigerians for Nigerians in Nigeria. When I say Nigerian vehicle, I don’t necessarily mean the whole thing, but a vehicle designed specifically for the Nigerian populace. A vehicle in tune with the history, culture, environment and economic structure of the people, and I think we are heading there.”
Aliyu invented the Chevrolet Volt, a battery-powered, extended range passenger vehicle which was described as General Motors’ most electrifying advanced technologic vehicle.” The Chevrolet Volt has an electric generator powered by an internal combustion engine with the capacity of 62 kW. It has a fuel tank capacity of 45 liters. The fuel tank combined with the battery charge gives it enough to run for 640 miles.
He Co-designed the Buick Rendezvous. He was the lead exterior designer of the Pontiac G6. In 2014, his invention ‘the Chevrolet Volt’ was given an award by the United States Environmental Protection Agency for the most fuel-efficient vehicle in the market.