Pakistan’s Transition to Electric Vehicles Gains Momentum

Sun Dec 24 2023
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ISLAMABAD: The global energy challenges and fluctuating oil prices, countries worldwide are shifting gears toward electric vehicles (EVs) to reduce oil import expenditures and promote environmental sustainability. While economic giants like the United States and China lead this transition, developing nations, burdened by substantial oil import bills, are now recognizing the potential benefits of embracing electric mobility.

In Pakistan, efforts to promote electric vehicles began two years ago, with several companies manufacturing and assembling electric bikes (e-bikes). Despite initial challenges in market acceptance and awareness, the recent surge in oil prices has prompted a reevaluation of electric alternatives. The shift is crucial for countries like Pakistan, aiming to reduce trade deficits, balance payments, and tackle environmental concerns.

Jolta Electric, one of the pioneers, launched an indigenously developed e-bike at an affordable price, but market penetration faced hurdles due to limited awareness. The key to advancing the sector lies in manufacturing lithium-ion batteries, a critical component for EVs. Currently, insufficient local production of lithium batteries hinders the widespread adoption of electric vehicles.

Public perception is gradually changing as consumers seek alternatives to conventional motorbikes to cut down on fuel expenses. While Chinese e-bikes dominate the market, affordability remains a challenge for many potential users. However, the cost-effectiveness of e-bikes, requiring minimal overnight charging for a substantial range, is becoming increasingly appealing.

In Punjab, a region plagued by annual smog issues, the government is actively promoting e-bikes to address pollution and reduce the oil import bill. Initiatives include providing e-bikes on lease to government employees and financial support for students to acquire e-bikes. The move is aligned with efforts to implement an Electric Vehicles Policy, emphasizing eco-friendly alternatives and a healthier environment.

As the government collaborates with financial institutions like the Bank of Punjab to facilitate easy installment plans for e-bikes, the sector anticipates a revolutionary shift in the local auto market. The forthcoming entry of numerous e-bike assemblers and manufacturers in the coming year is expected to fuel this transformation, marking a significant step toward a sustainable and electric future for Pakistan’s transportation sector.

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