Pros and cons must be considered before promoting EVs

February 03, 2023

Mansoor Sadiq

Electric vehicles (EVs) have grabbed customers’ attention in almost all developed countries, and people in Pakistan are also awaiting the arrival of this technology. Leading economists and automotive experts are of the view that Pakistan needs to consider all issues and concerns ahead of promoting EVs as expensive vehicles will be an additional burden on the import bill. To switch consumers towards EVs, the western governments have announced lucrative monetary incentives to motivate the public to adopt these vehicles ahead of shifting from conventional petroleum and gasoline vehicles.

“Amidst prevailing economic difficulties in Pakistan, importing vehicles, either EVs or alternates, may be a difficult exercise,” said Dr Ahsan-ul-Haq, Senior Economist at Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE). Dr Ahsan told WealthPK that the western world is shifting towards EVs on account of visible challenges of global warming and climate change. He said that owing to the availability of cheap electricity through solar and wind turbines, Pakistani users are taking interest in EVs simply being the latest trends in the automobile markets worldwide.

World’s leading EVs giant Tesla is made successful owing to the lucrative monetary subsidiaries announced on part of the governments of the US and Canada to make the vehicle affordable for the consumers. “From a Pakistani’s point of view, major drawbacks of EVs include expensive cost and limited driving mileage, and to address these issues, EVs manufacturers in western countries established their free-of-cost charging facilities to make products attractive for consumers. On the other side, any such factor has yet to become a priority of potential importers and users of EVs in Pakistan,” Dr Ahsan pointed out.

Few days back, the government while announcing the national energy conservation plan vowed to introduce electric bikes in the country citing $3 billion fuel import bill solely for motorcycles annually in the country. Dr Ahsan suggested that contrary to luxurious EVs, small vehicles like rickshaws and motorcycles, if replaced with electricity driven vehicles, will surely benefit the lower-income segments of society.

Pakistan’s fuel import bill can be reduced if fuel-based vehicles are converted to electricity charged vehicles, and charged through solar panels. A senior official from the Ministry of Industries and Production told WealthPK that foreign car manufacturing companies regularly increase prices. The import of car parts is causing increase in import bill.

The official said the local manufacturing of vehicles has never been encouraged and foreign companies do not establish even a single manufacturing plant in the country, and all we have are assembling plants which give meagre benefit to Pakistan. He said the import bill can be curtailed only with the establishment of full-fledged manufacturing plants in Pakistan.

Credit: Independent News Pakistan-WealthPk