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Electric vehicles expansion: where do Pakistan stands in ten years

Not today but five years ago, in the wake of advanced research, financial incentives and public awareness campaigns, Norway had a breakthrough with around 70,000 EVs on the road in Norway. There is a paradigm shift today, to say the least. Sales of electric cars topped 2.1 million globally in 2019. There is a whopping 40% year-on-year increase in EVs globally which speaks volumes of what the world would be by the end of this decade. The transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy is fast catching up in almost every part of the world, let alone the large economies with the national output in trillions of dollars namely the USA, China, Japan, Germany, France, the UK etc.

Electric motorbikes, electric rickshaws, electric trucks, electric buses and electric cars might be a common sight in Pakistan by the end of this or the next decade by virtue of the government incentives. Rather people would be more than willing to switch to electric vehicles to save fuel cost, to be precise. Who would like to incur thousands of rupees every month purchasing petrol and diesel? The government seems ambitious to bring about a metamorphosis in the auto sector for the sake of climate and for conserving foreign exchange. It would be spectacular to see over half a million electric motorcycles and rickshaws, electric cars, buses and trucks into the transportation system by the end of this decade. This may seem overly ambitious plan, however, it may be attained since the world is rapidly drifting toward electric vehicles so Pakistan cannot lag behind. It is believed that Pakistan might have 30% electric vehicles by the end of current decade.

Who would bring about this change: the existing Japanese auto assemblers, the Chinese automakers or would people switch to the American and European brands as was the case prior to 1960s in Pakistan? So far the Korean and the Chinese brands have not been prevalent in the Pakistani auto sector vis-à-vis the Japanese, however, let’s see which way the wind blows in the next couple of years. The change seems imminent.

Pakistani consumers are overly price conscious when it comes to buying a vehicle, which has led to a swamp of 800CC and 1000CC cars in the entire country, however, the SUVs such as Toyota Hilux and Fortuner seem to be making their way in the urban part of the country over the period of last decade. It is anticipated that 2021 would be a year with stellar growth in the sales of cars. The question is what kind of cars would be the choice of the consumers in the given circumstances when the entire world is opting for electric vehicles. Would the Pakistani consumers still prefer traditional fuel cars or the automakers/assemblers/importers have gauged the response of the market and would offer electric vehicles instantly since the world has already adapted to this change? Does Pakistan have appropriate infrastructure to adapt forthwith? Well, it is yet to be seen.

The Auto Policy 2016-21 brought about some change making way for the Korean and Chinese assemblers, however, EVs could not become widespread as is happening in the developed world, to be precise. The existing policy would expire in next five months. Let’s see what the new auto policy brings for the populace. The entire populace has gotten certain hope that the EVs would alter the transportation landscape of the country and it would also be likely for millions to buy a vehicle and maintain monthly expense which is anticipated to be far less than what it is today.

Let’s see how much response the imported electric cars get from the masses and how easy it becomes to register the imported electric vehicles in the days to come.

The government has offered tremendous incentives to encourage manufacturers to start producing electric vehicles and customers to buy them. Local manufacturing of electric vehicles, if done, would surely alter the transportation landscape and generate millions of jobs. This step could lure foreign direct investment in the manufacturing sector, which would eventually inflate the large scale manufacturing leading to splendid economic growth.

It has been almost a year since the approval of an ambitious national Electric Vehicles policy, however, electric four- and tri-wheelers are not a common sight even in the large cities of Pakistan.

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