KARACHI: The people in this country are on edge following the recent rise in the cost of fuel. And amid fears of further rise in fuel prices they are looking at all kinds of transportation alternatives. With a shortage of CNG anyway, the only option left for those wanting to own their own cars is the electric vehicle or EV.
EV sales are picking up all over the world now, and with several charging stations coming up at the petrol and CNG stations in Pakistan, too, the trend seems to be picking up here as well. But most electric vehicles, such as the Tesla, Audi, MG, BMW, etc, are high end or very expensive.
Still good things also come in small sizes. There is also the little Rinco Aria. A small car imported and distributed in Pakistan by Nayyer Motor Company. Available here for Rs2.4 million, the car is designed and engineered in the USA but assembled for Asia in China.
On the surface, the Rinco Aria looks like any other small ordinary sedan. It is a little bigger than the Suzuki Alto but around the same size as the Cultus or the Wagon R, which it can be better compared with because of its higher roof and nice roomy interior. Like any other regular car, it has the big halogen lights, 13-inch alloy rim tyres, power steering, parking sensors, rear camera, power windows, seatbelts and central locking. But you are in for a jolt when you open its hood or bonnet. Where is the engine?
PM urged to waive 10pc import duty to lower cost of cars
Well, this is not your usual car. The Rinco Aria has a lithium iron phosphate battery that is fixed under the car. When fully charged it does 200km in the economy or ‘eco mode’ where it won’t move at over 60km an hour, which is ideal for our city roads, and around 130km in the ‘sports mode’ at a higher speed.
The electronic display shows a battery just like the one in your smartphone display, telling you how much battery you have used and when to plug in the car for charging. You may plug it into a 2,300 unit outlet to charge it in five to six hours. And the pickup and acceleration of the Rinco Aria matches any 1,800CC car.
Of course, nothing lasts forever. The lithium iron phosphate battery has an approximate eight years of battery life. A new battery’s current cost is around US$1,600. But when compared to a normal car’s monthly fuel cost, which may be around Rs3,500 to 40,000 including oil change and filter change costs of Rs5,000 to Rs7,000, this car runs on Rs2 or 3 per km.
It has no such engine maintenance, no gears, too. Like all EVs, this car, too, has an automatic transmission system. You may only need to service its air conditioner filter once a year. There is a three-year warranty for all its parts and electricals, which will also remain available with its importers Nayyer Motor Company.
A lover, collector and restorer of vintage and classic cars, the importer of Rinco Aria, Razi Nayyer told Dawn that he had initially imported 20 vehicles to test the market here. Now with all those having been sold rather quickly, he has ordered 80 more. It is available in seven colours along with the dual tone options of another colour roof and pillars.
“There is a huge need for electric vehicles now,” said Nayyer. “The skyrocketing of fuel prices was always expected and not just here but all over the world. That is why there has been much research carried out for alternatives in the West, especially in the US. My objective, my drive, to introduce this little family car in Pakistan was not to make money but to serve the people of this country,” he said.
He added that the vehicle costs Rs2,400,000 at the moment because of the 10 per cent import duty of Rs455,000 slapped on it by the previous government.
“I appeal to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to waive this duty as it will automatically lower the cost of the car to make it more affordable for the masses. Also, since it is not a luxury car but just four wheels for the common man, please also allow its import into Pakistan. It will only help the economy because we are spending so much of our foreign exchange on fuel,” he pointed out.
He added: “The fuel you may run out of, sooner or later, but electricity you will always have because if nothing else there is the bright sun shining over your head to ensure that. There is also wind and water to generate electricity from so the future is electric and the future is here.”
Published in Dawn, May 30th, 2022