Bangladesh needs to formulate guidelines immediately to promote electric vehicles (EVs) with a view to reducing dependency on fossil fuel-based automobiles in the interest of environment, said speakers yesterday.
The government should offer both fiscal and financial supports to the businesspeople involved in manufacturing and importing of EVs, they said at a dialogue styled “Electric Vehicles and Sustainable Transportation System in Bangladesh”.
The Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD) and the Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (BCAS) organised the event at the MCCI conference room in the capital.
The global community has raised their voice to reduce greenhouse emission and the EVs will play a crucial role in protecting the environment, said Ferdaus Ara Begum, chief executive officer of the BUILD, while delivering her welcome speech at the event.
Bangladesh's peer countries like China, India and Thailand have already declared their goals to eventually ban fossil fuel-based internal combustion engines.
The transport sector accounts for 14 percent of global greenhouse emissions, she said.
There are about 10 lakh EVs plying in the street, of which more than 90 percent are two-wheelers popularly known as easy bike, said Ehsan-E-Elahi, additional secretary of the ministry of road, transport and bridges.
Since the easy bikes have no engine and chassis number, it is difficult to give them registration numbers, he said.
“The ministry is now working on formulating a guideline that will allow easy bikes to get registrations.”
A delegation will visit India soon to gather experience as the neighbouring country has gone much ahead in this field, Elahi added.
Availability of charging stations is highly important to make EVs popular in Bangladesh, said Md Ziaur Rahman, a professor at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology's electrical and electronic engineering department.
“The forthcoming guidelines should give importance to the issue of operating the charging stations. Otherwise, EVs will not get popularity,” he said.
Both fiscal and financial incentives should be offered for EVs to make the environment-friendly vehicles more widespread, said Siddique Zobair, member of the energy efficiency and conservation department of the Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority.
The government should frame the policy considering two-, three- and four-wheeled EVs, said Matiur Rahman, chairman of Uttara Motors. The batteries used by the easy bikes lose their effectiveness quickly and their indiscriminate disposal is harmful to the environment, he said.
The policymakers should address the issue properly as no fossil-based vehicles will run in future, Rahman said.
The regulation should be formulated cautiously as the EVs will control the streets in the coming days, said Abdullah Al Mohsin Chowdhury, secretary of the ministry of environment, forest and climate change.
Greenhouse gas emission from the transport sector in Bangladesh will be increased 118 percent by 2030 from the current level, said Md Tahmid Zami, senior research associate of the BUILD, while presenting a keynote paper.
But, the country plans to reduce greenhouse emission by 9 percent within 2030. “So, there is no other alternative but to increase the use of EVs,” he added.