The proposed electric vehicle (EV) policy is facing strong opposition from the automobile industry of Pakistan, mainly because this might be detrimental for the local auto sector.
Electric vehicles are taking the world by storm because of their eco-friendly nature. As the world faces a natural resource crisis, investors are very interested in the possibilities EV presents. According to Masood Khan, ex-chairman Pakistan Association of Automotive Parts and Accessories Manufacturers (PAAPAM), EV is the future. He says that EV should be incorporated into Pakistan through a long term plan of seven to ten years. He also said that before bringing in EV, infrastructure should be available.
Critically assess the feasibility of bringing EV into Pakistan, one must consider infrastructure. EV need electrical charging units across the city, not to mention electricity which our country already faces a shortage of. In foreign countries, it is understandable that EV holds appeal because fuel is far more expensive than readily-available electricity; however, that is not the case in Pakistan, and lack of proper infrastructure might pose as a hindrance.
The local auto industry finds the EV policy proposal unfair. According to people from the Pakistani auto industry, the only difference between an EV and a conventional car is the battery. Besides that, the vehicles are the same in terms of components. However, the government offers incentives to the whole vehicle simply because of this one difference. This will encourage imports and discourage production by the local auto industry.
EV should be introduced in Pakistan, but not at the expense of the local auto industry. A possible alternative could be conversion kits offered by companies entering the auto sector. The process is straightforward. The existing diesel engine must be replaced by an electric motor and a battery must be inserted under the chassis. When introducing an official EV policy the government might consider incorporating this to ensure that the domestic industry can keep up.
Moreover, the government should consider promoting local manufacturing of EV. This will allow the local industry to take advantage of the new policy and encourage industry growth as well.
Overall, there is a dire need to bring about a policy that takes into account the need for infrastructure for EV, that is, electricity and a charging port. The policy must also include ways to incorporate the indigenous industry in the government’s attempt to introduce EV to Pakistan.