Govt starts framing policy on e-vehicles

Munima Sultana | Published: April 26, 2019 10:26:07 | Updated: April 27, 2019 19:37:22

FE file photo used for representation

The government has made a move to morph the country's traditional transportation into an electric system with global automakers pushing for energy efficiency.

Sources said the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) has initiated to draft necessary policies on import, manufacturing and management of electric vehicles or e-vehicles.

The BRTA drafted a policy in 2018 which, however, focused only on areas of registration and operation with tax token and fitness, they added.

It failed to address necessary areas to introduce the new system to match with global trends, according to the sources.

"We should start working on e-vehicles as many countries, including India and China, and auto brands have already switched to e-vehicles," said an official.

Earlier, the BRTA did not accept e-vehicles as those do not have horse power or engine capacity like other imported fuel-consumed vehicles.

Yet, vehicles like 'easy bike' and 'battery-run rickshaws' with sub-standard battery system have been rampant in the country.

These vehicles are the real fuel guzzlers and often cause accidents, rather than reducing pollution.

For lack of invigilation by the authorities concerned, uncontrolled imports of lead batteries caused environmental hazards as their longevity is much lower than lithium ones.

According to a statistics, around 600,000 battery-operated vehicles plied the country in 2016.

Good news is the figure came down to less than 5000 in 2018.

Officials said the fresh move would highlight overall aspects of e-vehicles like import of vehicles, battery management, charging stations, taxation and local manufacturing.

The UN Environment is providing necessary support for the state transport regulator to formulate the policies and guidelines, they mentioned.

Transport expert Dr SM Salah Uddin said the government should focus more on training drivers and battery management to avoid environment hazards.

Batteries used in easy bikes are available in villages as those turn inoperative after a year of use, he told the FE.

Dr Salah, however, emphasised a target-oriented policy considering area-wise demand as the move for e-vehicles would also need to replace diesel vehicles.

The policy should focus on how natural gas-fired vehicles would be replaced to use fossil fuel for power generation, he said.

Belayet Hossain, additional secretary of road transport and highways division, said his ministry is going to hold an inter-ministerial meeting to popularise the new transport system in Bangladesh.

"We should enrich the draft focusing on overall areas," he said, adding that electric bus system could be considered for zero pollution and energy efficiency.

The government is considering e-vehicles for their improved efficiency level, zero pollution and low cost for end users, Mr Hossain went on to say.


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