Numerous car accidents are registered each day due to declining road visibility. The number of patients with respiratory disorders is growing exponentially, foggy nights have been typical and people rather have no other options except breathing the toxic air.
These phenomena picture a terrible scenario but we have been customary with our atypical environment. According to the Sectoral Emission Inventory for Punjab, the incidents above are mainly linked with our outdated transportation system, contributing 43% of urban carbon dioxide emissions. Since their inception, Electric Vehicles (EVs) have played a significant role in curtailing the important cities’ net carbon dioxide levels. A report published by North-West Energy Efficiency Project analyses the net Greenhouse Gases (GHS) illustrates that a new EV in Nevada released the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions as a gas-powered car 101-miles per gallon fuel efficiency.
Considering their economic and environmental potential, the Pakistani government has taken an unprecedented step by framing its first electric vehicle policy (Frommer, 2019). This policy seems ambitious as it projects to increase EVs’ new sales, including trucks, motorcycles, public transport, and motorcycles, up to 90% by 2040. This transformation from conventional transport system to EVs transport would be critical. It has the potential for myriad economic benefits and would be a first significant step towards Pakistan’s sustainable future.
Electric vehicles’ newly conceived policy has cultivated a fertile land for the investors to set up industries and carry out their businesses conveniently. As per policy, the government has shrunk the general sales tax (GST) from 17% to 1% and import duty on charging equipment from 20.67% to 1% (Uddin). Moreover, the government has assured to provide an uninterrupted supply of power to the industries. These steps catch investors’ attention and encourage them to expand their market by investing capital. The growth of industries would benefit the country’s economy by providing employment opportunities for its residents.
Among the import commodities of Pakistan, petroleum constitutes 24% of the total spending. Now the proliferation of new vehicles in the Pakistani market has increased consumer choice. The demand for natural oil would likely take momentum in the years ahead. Since EVs are battery-powered and their introduction could significantly reduce domestic oil consumption and benefit Pakistan’s economy by cutting down the import of oil. According to a study, the growth of EVs could save $2 billion annually on oil imports. Pakistan can utilize this amount to develop its tertiary industry to have the opportunity to earn a livelihood. Compared to conventional gasoline-based vehicles, EVs have fewer parts and thus reduce the car’s maintenance cost.
For Pakistan, the major challenge concerning electric vehicles could be ensuring the availability of electricity. The policy suggests that government would install one fast DC charging station per 3 km in all major cities. To ensure availability, Pakistan must develop the infrastructure to utilize its plethora of renewable natural resources. Through consistent power supply to the stations and domestic consumer Pakistan can generate enormous revenue from private corporations.
Along with the flexibility of charging at home, EVs offer efficient transport as compared to their fuel-based competitors. The study conducted by the US energy department reveals that EVs convert over “77% of the electrical energy” to generate power. On the other hand, vehicles with internal combustion engines convert only about “12%-30%” of the total potential energy (Frommer, 2019). The efficiency of EVs would help the owner to drive more economically.
While most of the developed and some developing countries have upgraded their fuel quality to Euro 6 emission standard, Pakistan, on the other hand, still imports fuel with Euro 2 standard. This low quality of energy emits a significant amount of carbon oxides into the already saturated atmosphere. In Pakistan’s major cities, transportation contributes more carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases than any other sector. The addition of greenhouse gases beyond the optimum level alters local and regional weather patterns. It is a critical factor for the growth of chronic air-borne diseases such as asthma and other cardiovascular diseases.
Electric cars’ success is that they obtain their power from a rechargeable battery rather than an internal combustion engine. The replacement of the machine with a battery drops the emission of hazardous gases to a negligible level. Therefore the transition from the conventional mode of transport to electric cars would trim the net carbon concentration in the atmosphere and ultimately would curtail severe climatic changes. Perhaps this would be a practical step towards a sustainable future, but how to motivate people to use electric vehicles?
Conventional vehicles have been an extended part of peoples’ lives, and transition to EVs may consume lots of time. Nevertheless, the government could play a critical role in catalyzing the transition process by taking the following steps. Firstly, it should develop the infrastructure and extend the modern highways in the countryside. Well-developed roads and efficient EVs offer people a cheap service and could enhance the demand for EVs. Finally, along with the government, the non-governmental organization could educate people about the disrupting climatic changes due to air pollution. Apart from that, effective advertisement on EVs’ role in retaining the ecosystem balance could motivate people to buy Electric Vehicles.
Frommer, M. (2019). Economic and Emissions Benefits of Electric Vehicles in Nevada. Nevada: South-West Energy Efficiency Project.
Uddin, M. Pakistan’s National Electric Vehicle Policy: Charging towards the future. Islamabad: icct-The International Council on Clean Transportation.