New players eye Pakistan’s growing hybrid, electric vehicles market

Published April 14, 2024
BANGKOK: The BYD EV cars are displayed at the 45th Bangkok International Motor Show.—Reuters/file
BANGKOK: The BYD EV cars are displayed at the 45th Bangkok International Motor Show.—Reuters/file

ISLAMABAD: As the auto market continues to grow in Pakistan, new players are setting their sights on introducing hybrid as well as electric vehicles (EVs) in the country, and one of the largest automakers has announced its entry into Pakistan.

The BYD Group of China has recently announced its entry into the passenger vehicle market in Pakistan in collaboration with Mega Conglomerate Pvt Ltd, the parent company of Hub Power and Haleeb Foods.

During a signing ceremony recently held in China, Aly Khan, executive director of Mega, highlighted plans to promote EV adoption in Pakistan.”

He stated that three BYD showrooms would be established in Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad in 2024. The move is expected to accelerate the electrification of Pakistan’s automotive industry, which has largely been based on petroleum fuel.

BYD teams up with Mega for passenger vehicle market, plans showrooms

Meanwhile, a senior official of the Ministry of Industries and Production said that BYD and Mega have not applied for the licence to establish an assembly plant in Pakistan. It is more likely that the company and the local partner would import the vehicles into Pakistan, as other EVs, including some European brands, are being sold in the country.

There are several models of EVs and hybrid electric cars in the country, but currently, only the Indus Motor Company is manufacturing a hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) — the Toyota Corolla Cross, while two new entrants are assembling hybrid vehicles.

Ali Asghar Jamali, chief executive officer of Indus Motor Company, said that the auto sector was transforming towards reducing dependency on fossil fuels, which was especially important in countries where petroleum fuel was imported.

However, Mr Jamali added that, considering Pakistan’s current energy landscape, there are challenges in introducing battery electric vehicles (BEVs), as there is heavy reliance on petroleum fuel, which hinders the immediate adoption of BEVs.

“The HEV technology presents a practical and efficient solution in the current scenario, as electricity and electric chargers are not available everywhere,” he added.

Possibly due to these infrastructure hurdles, mostly related to the lack of charging ports and continuous availability of electricity, the National Electric Vehicle policy introduced in November 2019 has failed to attract any single four-wheeler EV assembler in the country.

Responding to the query, Asim Ayaz of Engineering Development Board, an attached department of the Ministry of Industries and Production, said that 34 licences have been obtained by two and three-wheeler manufacturers.

He acknowledged that issues related to the launch of EV vehicles in the country, such as the lack of financing for customers as EVs are more expensive due to the higher cost of batteries, but added that the ministry is proposing to have an EV charging station at every gas station to enhance the availability of charging options.

Two local players, Haval of Sazgar Engineering Works Ltd, and Hyundai Nishat Motors, are already assembling hybrid vehicles, while the third local player is also set to enter the non-conventional vehicle market of Pakistan on a larger scale.

Since they have the grace period up to June 2026 under the Greenfield option, these companies were only assembling vehicles in the country.

Apart from cars, Sazgar is a key player in manufacturing electric auto rickshaws in the country, and in late 2022, Haval introduced Pakistan’s first locally assembled hybrid electric vehicle. Later in October 2023, Hyundai Nishat introduced its hybrid car.

On the other hand, MG Pakistan has decided to enter the market on a larger scale with all three categories of the new energy vehicle (NEV) class.

These include hybrid vehicles that have inbuilt charging, the other category is the plug-in charging where the vehicles operate on fossil fuel and have the option for plug-in charging too in case of fuel shortage, and the third category is the electric vehicle.

“We have plans to start assembling vehicles in all three NEV categories, and these will be launched in the fiscal year starting from July 2024,” said Syed Asif Ahmed, general manager marketing, MG.

Published in Dawn, April 14th, 2024

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