Making A Case For Start-Stop Cars In Pakistan

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Energy conservation is government’s top most priority due to prevalent energy scarcity. In the federal budget for year 2013, the Minister of Finance took a bold step by giving relief in custom duties on the import of hybrid cars. Though no real relief was available to the low income customers as the government had announced withdrawal of duty on hybrid cars with engine capacity less than 1300 cc, without realizing that no hybrid powered car with that engine capacity is available in the market. Media had a field day and launched a campaign to malign the PML (N) government leaders that this step was taken for the personal benefit of few top party leaders.

start-stop cars pakistanA previous article was written by the author explaining the entire hybrid concept. However all those assumption/allegations have been proven far from reality. Nonetheless, the step did not benefit low income groups and poor people like small taxi owners, though the government wanted so. Another alternative is to give relief to START-STOP CARS also known as MICRO HYBRIDs, in hybrid category for purpose of custom calculation.

Typical hybrid cars work on principal of operation on a high voltage battery up to certain speed limit thereafter normal engine takes over while simultaneously charging the batteries as well. The manufacturing cost of these vehicles is therefore higher than normal gasoline engine powered cars.

To offset additional cost, ‘START STOP CARS ‘ were introduced. In these models, a start-stop system or stop-start system automatically shuts down and restarts the internal combustion engine when the vehicle comes to a stop, where the engine would normally run idle, thus reducing the fuel consumption and emissions. This is more advantageous during city driving where vehicles spend significant amounts of time waiting at traffic lights or traffic jams. For such cars, the fuel economy gains are typically in the range of 10 to 15%. In these vehicles, various car accessories and systems like  air-conditioning  etc are powered by a separate belt in the engine. This enables all ancillary systems to function properly when the engine is turned off. Typically, an electric motor is used to power these devices instead.

Most of the Japanese manufactures are producing 660cc start-stop models like Mira eS and Suzuki Alto ECO. These 660cc cars do over 20 km in a liter. In the present era, when there is shortage of CNG, these will be very beneficial for small taxi owners and general public. Similarly, Toyota produces its popular Vitz model in 1331cc start-stop version. Since 3rd custom slab finishes at 1300cc, this car falls in 1500cc slab and duty exceeds Rs1.3m thus making it commercially unsuitable for import. This is a powerful car with economy figures of over 20km/l.

The government is therefore is advised to slightly alter its tax duty format. Instead of giving ZERO duty packages on hybrid cars below 1300cc, government should give 50% tax relief to START-STOP (Micro Hybrids) up to 1500cc cars. This besides giving a great relief to low income groups will make huge saving in fuel import bill and help in greener environment due to reduced carbon emissions.

Zubair Hashmi

Brig. Muhammad Zubair Hashmi (r), after retirement from Pakistan Army in 2008, joined a multinational company involved in water front resort development as MD. Based in Islamabad, he has keen interest in automobiles, and worked a lot in introducing hybrid cars in the country. His first on hybrid cars was published on Pakwheels in 2013 and was keenly read by enthusiasts. He contributes regularly to Pakwheels Blog.

  • Aamir Bashir

    A well written article about the hybrid and Micro-hybrid car, if we have a sense of such technical stuff so how do they (Govt.) ain’t? its all part of the game, don’t forget who our politicians are and why they stepped up the seat they are on now … the first thought in your mind click might be steel mills or industries or Empire yes exactly our Govt. don’t give a damn about working class or poor society … on top the local auto-industry pay them a lot of bribe that’s the reason the tax chart is missing every category, they have researchers, analysts, accountants who give them more info then we got but they made themselves blind for that cos on other hand they get hefty bribes

  • Aftab Riaz

    Mitsubishi mirage !!! a good sub-compact car with idle start and stop function.. !!
    Mira E-s and alto as compare to these 660 cc vehicles one can prefer mirage as it is 1000 cc with excellent fuel efficiency.

  • Majid Khan

    true no doubt

  • Ali

    What is avg fuel consumption per liter you are getting ? in city ? and out long route ?

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