ICMD, Nov 6, 2019:

The federal cabinet on Tuesday approved an ambitious national Electric Vehicles (EV) policy under which a target has been set to convert 30 percent of four- and tri-wheelers in the country into electric vehicles.

The cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan also expressed satisfaction over improvement in economic indicators that it hoped would bring relief to the nation soon.

Addressing a joint press conference along with Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan after the cabinet meeting, federal Minister for Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam presented a detailed picture of how the government would implement the national EV policy.

He said the government had targeted 30 percent of the total number of vehicles in the country to turn them into electric cars. For this purpose, local car manufacturers had already completed 90 percent of the spadework, the minister for climate change claimed. “I recently visited Karachi and was surprised to see that local car manufacturers are waiting for the cabinet’s approval for EV policy so that they can roll out their electric vehicles into the market,” he said.

The minister said the EV policy would help reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. “In developed countries, the ratio of emissions of greenhouse gases from vehicles in the total volume of environmental pollution is 20pc but here in Pakistan, it is 40pc. With the introduction of electric cars, trucks, vans and even tri-wheeler rickshaws, the rate of pollution and smog will drop down,” he added.

Mr Aslam said another advantage of the policy was affordable transportation as the cost of running electric vehicles was much lower than that of plying vehicles on petrol, Condensed Natural Gas (CNG) or other fuel.

He expressed the hope that the use of electric vehicles would help the government drastically cut the import bill of oil, which was said to be $2 billion annually.

“Another benefit of the policy is that it will boost the local car industry and will create hundreds of thousands of new jobs in the country,” the minister for climate change said.

He told the media that more than 3,000 CNG stations, which had been lying closed due to gas shortage, could be converted into EV charging stations.

“Our negotiations are underway with some oil companies in this regard. A firm is ready to establish battery change stations to provide batteries to the commuters on the lease,” he said.

The minister said special units of electric car manufacturing would be set up in the under-construction Special Economic Zones being established under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.