New policy to focus on promoting electric vehicles

Published May 20, 2021
The industries minister says that the government will like to see an increased footprint of electric vehicles to improve the environment and to reduce oil import bill. Reuters/File
The industries minister says that the government will like to see an increased footprint of electric vehicles to improve the environment and to reduce oil import bill. Reuters/File

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Industries and Production Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtyar on Wednesday said the new policy would focus on growth and development of the automotive industry together with affordability, quality, availability and indigenisation.

In consultative sessions with auto sector stakeholders to discuss the Auto Industry Development & Export Plan (AIDEP) 2021-26, the minister said that the government would like to see an increased footprint of electric vehicles to improve the environment and to reduce oil import bill.

The representatives of Pakistan Automotive Manufacturers Association (Pama) and Pakistan Association of Auto Parts & Accessories Manufacturers (Paapam) held separate meetings with the minister. Commerce Adviser Razak Dawood was also present.

The minister suggested to both associations to table suggestions to reduce the prices of small cars to bring the cost within the affordability of lower middle class of the country.

Pama and Paapam lauded government efforts to formulate the policy as universally accepted by key players.

The bodies also commended the current government for support amid the Covid-19 pandemic through the salary loans, investment loans and slashing down of interest rates to protect the industry.

It was decided to hold the consultative sessions till finalisation of AIDEP draft.

Support for hybrid cars sought

Meanwhile, in another de­­v­elopment the local industry has sought the government’s support and a policy for hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs). According to the industry, HEVs are a better option for consumers than the electric vehicles (EVs).

The incumbent government has already approved and notified the first-ever EV Policy of the country to facilitate the new transformation in the auto industry.

The policy is aimed at a complete replacement of a conventional internal combustion engine with a battery-backed system.

“Up to three per cent EV Battery degradation every year results in more charging cycles. This means there will be more CO2 and less mileage in addition to huge loss of economic value,” said SM Ishtiaq, CEO SM Engineering.

Talking to media on Wednesday, he said that 30,000 EVs were estimated to consume 1pc of Pakistan’s generation capacity. “One unit of electricity is being sold at Rs50 so Rs2,000 will be required to charge 40 kWh battery to get the mileage of less than 180km. This translates into the cost of Rs11 per km to the consumer,” he said.

“On the other hand, the HEV’s cost is Rs5 per kilometre and internal combustion engine (ICE) cost is around Rs9.3 per km, which is way much efficient for the consumer in comparison with EVs so a sane choice will be either HEV or ICE,” he added.

“The government and policy makers should seriously consider other alternatives to BEVs while formulating or implementing policies in this regard because hybrid remains the most feasible technology as it offers best of both worlds,” said Mr Ishtiaq.

He added that the hybrid vehicles as better option as compared to the EVs as the latter would huge outflow of dollar in case of the estimated import of 20,000 units per year.

Published in Dawn, May 20th, 2021

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