Federal cabinet has approved the first-ever national Electric Vehicles (EV) policy in a bid to tackle effects of climate change and reduce country’s fuel import bill.
The cabinet meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, who has a special interest in green and sustainable development, and had personally ordered to formulate the electric vehicle policy earlier this year.
According to information, in the first phase the government will focus on converting 30% of total number of vehicles, mainly cars and rickshaws into EVs. According to Advisor to PM on Climate Change Malik Ameen Aslam, local manufacturers had already completed most of the preliminary work, adding that he was surprised to see the acknowledgment by the manufacturers who are waiting to roll out their electric vehicles into the market. The target set for next 4 years is to convert 100,000 cars and 500,000 two and three wheeler vehicles to EVs.
One of the key objectives of the policy is to offer affordable transportation to the people as the cost of electric vehicles is much lower compared to petrol, diesel, compressed natural gas (CNG) or other fuels. Malik Ameen said the EV policy would help reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.
“In developed countries, the ratio of emissions of greenhouse gases from vehicles in total volume of environmental pollution is 20% but here in Pakistan it is 40%. With introduction of electric cars, trucks, vans and even tri-wheeler rickshaws, the rate of pollution and smog will drop down.”
With the new EV Policy, Pakistan also hopes to reduce its dependency on fuel imports that could help save $2 billion, incentivize the local car industry and create jobs. More than 3,000 CNG stations that have been shut due to gas shortage would be converted to EV charging stations. Pakistan is also planning to set up special units of electric car manufacturing in the Special Economic Zones being established under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Malik Ameen also said that negotiations are under way with some oil companies; and a firm is also ready to establish battery change stations to provide batteries to the commuters on lease.
According to a 2019 report titled ‘Electric Vehicles in Pakistan: Policy Recommendations’ says by 2025, an excess of 15,000 MW peak generation capacity will be available in the system to spare for EVs and claims that “almost 500,000 EVs can be fully charged daily with a supply of just under 1000 MWs”. Researchers said introducing EVs in Pakistan can solve present and imminent problems of a number of sectors, including transportation, environment, economy and power.