The global leaders have promised to phase out fossil fuel-powered vehicles by 2030 to reduce carbon emissions and save energy. In that case, the automobile companies started competing to make electric vehicles (EV) long ago.
The Bangladesh government made policies in 2020 to popularize EV, which kick-started the revolution of electric cars and bikes in Bangladesh.
It is known that the local automobile companies are producing electric bikes and light vehicles. The machineries are being manufactured with raw materials imported from abroad as well as tools collected from domestic sources.
At the same time, the related industries of this industry are also gradually expanding, said the entrepreneurs.
The insiders say although the EV industry in the country has expanded somewhat, there were no battery charging stations. Now a charging station called “Ehon Charge” has also been set up for the first time at Tejgaon in capital Dhaka.
Through this, EV services are expected to increase rapidly.
Opportunities are expanding
In 2020, three local companies took the initiative to manufacture electric vehicles, among them, Walton is ahead. Also Baagh Eco Motors and Palki Motors are in the discussion for making EV private cars.
For the first time in the country, the Walton electric bike “Takyon” has been approved by the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA). Officials of Walton said this bike will cost only Tk 0.10 to Tk 0.15 per Km.
It is known that the popular Japanese company Mitsubishi has taken the initiative to build a car manufacturing plant in Bangladesh. In 2021, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed with Bangladesh Steel and Industries Corporation (BSEC).
Under the MoU, BSEC and Mitsubishi are exploring the possibility of setting up a joint venture company to manufacture Mitsubishi brand vehicles in Bangladesh. It aims to bring EVs to market by 2025.
Apart from this, South Korean car manufacturer Hyundai Corporation has also announced the production of public EVs in the country. The industries ministry says that Hyundai will launch electric cars in Bangladesh by 2024.
Recently, Industry Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun told reporters that the government wants to make Bangladesh a regional automobile industry hub by 2030. For this reason, “Automobile Industry Development Policy” has been made in 2022.
In this policy, imports of reconditioned cars have been phased out, and priority has been given to local production.
It is known that 80 per cent of the total cars sold in the country are reconditioned. However, the reconditioned car market has been shrinking in recent years. According to estimates till 2017, only three people bought a car per thousand in the country.
Compared to other countries, for example, Thailand produces 1.9 million cars a year. Out of this, 11 lakhs are sold in the local market of the country the rest are exported.
Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (SREDA) Chairman Munira Sultana said, “The major car manufacturers of the world have announced that they will no longer manufacture oil-powered cars after 2030.
“The 5.7 million private cars are currently running in our country. We need to work on it now. How they will be phased out, or disposed of or converted, will need to be regulated.”
Charging barrier is cut
Currently, there are 35 registered EVs in the country, confirmed automobile industry sources.
However due to a lack of adequate charging stations for these vehicles, there are many obstacles. To solve this problem, a charging station was set up on Wednesday at the office premises of “Audi Bangladesh” in Tejgaon (Nabisco) area of the capital.
During the inauguration of the charging station, the senior secretary of power division Habibur Rahman said, “Between 2030 and 2035, there will be no oil-powered transports in Bangladesh. In the future, such charging points will be developed all over the country.”
Hasib Uddin, Director of Audi car importer Progress Motors Import Ltd, said, “We have plans to set up 11 charging stations across the country by 2024. It is known that the car can be charged from 10 percent to 100 percent in 20-30 minutes at the charging station.
“A car will run about 500 kilometers on 100 percent charge. That is, one can go to any destination in the country from the capital Dhaka by charging the car once.”