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Road map to bring electric vehicles to local roads

Road map to bring electric vehicles to local roads

KARACHI: The Ministry of Science and Technology has taken the initiative for “engineering foresight” to gear up auto assemblers and parts makers for new challenges, especially electric vehicles (EVs). Various countries including the United States and India have already unveiled their plans for introducing EVs.

The ministry has shared a “Draft Technology Foresight Report on Auto Sector” with the local assemblers, auto parts makers and universities seeking their input. The report will be discussed and finalised in the third meeting to be held on September 12, 2017.

The volumes are low in Pakistan but there is a need to start working on capacity building for institutions so that in future the country is well placed in adopting new technologies of electric vehicles and has the human resources to cope with challenges of the technology, the ministry said.

The science ministry feels that when EV technology is available it will not just impact the auto sector but it will also affect the power utility industry, petroleum, construction and building industries for providing charging facilities and urban transportation.

EV offers zero tail pipe emission and reduction in noise, which is the most desirable scenario for growing urban centres all over the world, the ministry said.

It also said there is a lot of hype about EV in the world and Pakistanis are being affected by it. However, we should not race forward, but move towards it in a pragmatic manner, the ministry added.

The ministry said an argument can be made that in Pakistan fossil fuel vehicles will continue for a longer period, especially in the lower strata, due to their lower cost. It is estimated that the cost of battery, which forms about half the cost of an electric vehicle, will in 12 to 15 years, reduce to an extent that the total ownership cost of EV will be equal to that of a fossil fuel vehicle.

A local car or a light-weight combat vehicle manufacturer in this transition period will be challenged to produce a small fossil fuel vehicle, around 600 to 800 CC with an outlook for 20 years, and at an appropriate time tie up with an EV manufacturer to co-develop an EV appropriate for our market. This activity requires deep pockets and unstinted support by the government.

Published in Dawn, September 10th, 2017

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