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ISLAMABAD: The Power Division has proposed constitution of an inter-ministerial task force to develop comprehensive mechanism for promotion of E-Bikes in the country as fuel consumption of motorbikes has reached over $3 billion per annum, well-informed sources told Business Recorder.

Motorbikes have become a necessary part of daily life in Pakistan owing to its affordability and fuel efficiency. As per Pakistan Economic Survey, the total number of registered motorcycles as of 2021 was 24.8 million.

According to Pakistan Automotive Manufacturers Association (PAMA) latest sale report, around 14.5 million gasoline bikes have been sold in the last twelve years. In FY 21, the auto manufacturers have sold around 1.9 million gasoline bikes. As per oil industry statistics issued by Oil Companies Advisory Council (OCAC), around 9 million metric tons of motor spirit has been consumed by on-road vehicles in FY 22.

Assuming 35 per cent share, gasoline bikes consumed around 3.1 million metric tons of motor spirit during FY 22 which translates to $ 3.1 billion import bill applying exchange rate of Rs 230 PKR/USD. It is further analysed from available data that currently on road-bikes having average mileage of 52 km/litre, travel around 31 km per day. Further, these bikes are also a major contributor of pollution through their carbons and noise emissions.

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Power Division stated that the issue of high gasoline consumption and its implication on import bill and environment could be addressed by introduction of Electric Bikes (E-Bikes) capturing the transport markets globally. At present the government is conducting a comparison between companies that have launched electric bikes with price, speed, battery, charging time, electricity consumption and mileage with fuel used by gasoline bikes.

The Power Division further claims that such immense potential of E-Bikes notwithstanding, there are systematic and institutional constraints that inhibit the sale and usage of such bikes at a larger scale. While there is an established and well-functioning supply and value chain available to gasoline-run bikes, E-Bikes suffer from the lack of such facility, and some of the obvious constraints are as follows: (i) non availability of offsite charging infrastructure;(ii) cost of E-Bike much higher than its comparable competitor;(iii) absence of formal sector financing products that includes certain incentives from the government;(iv) limited charging capacity because of the technological constraint for battery swap; and (v) high cost of power.

The Power Division argues that there is a need to invoke the commitments made in Pakistan’s National Electric Vehicle Policy 2019 for conversion of already available manufacturing expertise to E-Bikes. Further, there should be an incentivized mechanism for development of charging infrastructure and to introduce special incentive package for conversion of existing stock of gasoline bikes.

After explaining the context Power Division proposed to establish a task force to develop a comprehensive mechanism with the following composition: (i) Chairman of the Task Prime Minister Task Force (ideally a senior parliamentarian with expertise in energy sector)Federal Minister for Finance;(ii) Federal Minister for Industries & Production; (iii) Minister of State Petroleum Division;(iv) Secretary, Power Division; (v) Secretary, Petroleum Division; (vi) Secretary, Science & Technology; and (viii) Secretary, Industries & Production/Secretary of Task Force.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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