Electric vehicles are all the rage these days for their immense benefit to climate change and global warming. Likewise, Government of Pakistan is also taking serious measures to fight air pollution and climate change through the introduction of electric vehicles in the country. A meeting at BIO (board of investment) was held on May 29, 2019 in this regard. The Ministry of climate change has formulated a policy regarding the vehicles sold in the country; with an expected annual income of Rs 110 billion.
The Government has also decided to introduce 100,000 new electric vehicles such as cars, vans and small trucks under a five year mid-term plan from 2020. A target has been set to convert 30% sales of yearly 60 thousand vehicles to electric cars by 2030 and about 90% vehicles to electric cars by 2040. According to the electric vehicle policy draft prepared by the Ministry of Climate Change, the government has also set a target of introducing 500,000 two, three and four wheel drive electric vehicles in the next 5 years under the long term plan. The policy also includes increasing the annual 900,000 sales of 2, 3 and 4 wheel drive vehicles to 50% as electric cars by the year 2030 and about 90% by the year 2040.
The introduction of electric cars is expected to fight against increased air pollution in the country, while also contributing towards an economic fuel consumption. Vehicle emission is one of the main contributors to air pollution in Pakistan which also negatively affects the growth in the agriculture sector.
Although PM Imran Khan has approved the concept, it will be presented to the cabinet in 2 weeks. The electric vehicle policy is a tough ask for the government due to immense market barriers. There is no proper charging mechanism, revenue collection, import duty statistics and infrastructure for self-assembly industry in place in the country.
The automobile industry has already opposed the decision considering it as a contradiction of Auto-Industry Development Policy 2016-21. They have also emphasized that the electric vehicle policy in Pakistan is relying mainly on imports instead of the local automobile market unlike countries such as the US, India and China which have a proper policy in place to also offer a healthy growth for their local automobile market.
Existing car assemblers were not much interested in the formulation of a separate policy for Electric vehicles. On the contrary, the new auto investors looked quite interested in working with the Electric vehicles and EV policy draft that has been set up so far. The new auto investors under the new auto policy-2016-21 includes the likes of Sazgar Engineering, Topsun Motors, Khalid and Khalid Holding, Ka Hanteng Motor Company are much interested to introduce EV in country.
Stakeholders also urged the government to consider some policy regarding the age limit of old vehicles running on roads especially heavy vehicles such as trucks which cause a lot of carbon emission.
Pakistan Association of Automotive Parts & Accessories Manufacturers (PAAPAM) former chairman Mashood Khan is of the view that the country needs to put a proper infrastructure such as electric charges in place before bringing the electric vehicles. He suggests government to gradually introduce electric cars over a period of seven to ten years under long term planning. Auto-Industry experts also want the imports to be reduced to 30% components with remaining 70% to be manufactured by the local automobile authorities of Pakistan.
Written by: Muneeza Shahid