Pakistan has pledged to reach 30% electric vehicles by 2030. While the announcement garnered a lot of appreciation, some were shocked. Currently, Pakistan is way behind the electric vehicle race and 30% seems like a very ambitious goal for such a short time. However, it was due as hybrid cars have already taken over the used car for sale market.
Why the switch to Electric vehicles?
With the growing realization of climate change and environmental hazards, global leaders are pushing for Eco-friendly products and discouraging industries that are polluting the climate and depleting our natural resources. After the Paris Climate Accord, world leaders announced to achieve a set percentage of EVs in their respective countries.
The revelation was made by Pakistan’s ambassador to UN Munir Akram during a virtual meeting of UN’s Group of Friends on Climate Change. Pakistan was co-chairing the meeting along with Denmark and Norway. The Pakistani ambassador remarked that Pakistan despite being one of the smallest emitters of Carbon, it’s vulnerable to the worst happenings of climate change.
The ambassador’s remarks were in line with the Ideology of his Prime Minister. PM Imran Khan was well known for his proclivity towards saving nature, reducing pollution, and fighting climate change before even he became the Prime Minister of Pakistan.
Imran Khan's Billion Tree Tsunami has won appreciation from all over the world, which he has now extended to 10 Billion trees. Just in line with these courses of action is his pledge to make 30% of vehicles in Pakistan electric by 2030.
Why are experts and businessmen critical of this move?
While this pledge has garnered applause from all around the world, experts and consumers are both critical. One-half of the critics believe that this goal is too ambitious and not practical while others are calling for even bigger targets to fight climate change.
Let’s address the former first. This group of critics believes that the Electric Vehicle industry is currently in its infancy. They cite that the hybrid vehicles have only recently arrived and they are too expensive for the average consumer.
While this concern is valid to some extent, it was addressed last year by the federal govt's New Auto policy. According to this policy, huge incentives were given to the electric vehicle industry. Where the fuel-dependent cars are liable to 17% GST, electric vehicles are subjected to pay only 1% GST.
The government has also announced to reduce the electricity rates for the charging station owners to promote electric charging stations which will help bolster the demand for EVs.
Moreover, the Imran Khan administration is also promoting electric buses and bikes. Bikes which are widely used across the country especially by the middle class, cause a lot of pollution and constitute a significant share of the country’s total fuel consumption.
With the benefit of saving money on fuel, it’s expected that consumers will want to replace their old bikes with electric bikes. Last month, the Prime Minister launched a locally manufactured bike, which is expected to be highly demanded by the Pakistani consumer.
Similarly, electric buses will also be a huge improvement over the currently used fuel exhausting buses. They constitute a major portion of the country’s public transport. With the advantage of reduced fuel expenditure, the profit margins for transporters will increase and they would want to make the most of this opportunity.
Also, a significant portion of busses is owned by government sectors such as educational institutes for their students, and various government departments for their employees. They can all replace their current busses with electric ones on the directives of the government. So, a huge portion of electric vehicles can be incorporated this way.
As for the second group of critics who believe that the 30% target is not enough, they must realize that actions are being taken on all fronts to fight climate change. Pakistan has also unveiled its plan to shift 30% of the country’s energy dependence on renewables.
In the same meeting the ambassador announced Pakistan’s EV future, he also iterated that developing countries are under a lot of pressure from COVID, poverty, and political unrest. For them to transition from fuel dependency to an electric future, will require support from the world’s leading countries.
It's only a matter of time before Electric Vehicles are overwhelmingly found as used cars for sale in Pakistan.