300 EVs to re­place taxis

Bhutan Times - - Home - Thuk­ten Zangpo

Bhutanese can feel the ride of 300 elec­tric ve­hi­cle (EVs) taxis ply­ing on the road of Thim­phu city since Bhutan adopts Bhutan sus­tain­ble low emis­sion ur­ban trans­port sys­tems project which would come into ef­fect af­ter few more stake­hold­ers con­sul­ta­tion.

The dis­cus­sions were car­ried out among United Na­tions De­vel­op­ment Pro­gramme (UNDP), Gross Na­tional Hap­pi­ness Com­mis­sion (GNHC), Min­istry of In­for­ma­tion and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions (MoIC), ve­hi­cle deal­ers and rep­re­sen­ta­tives from taxi as­so­ci­a­tions on 30 oc­to­ber in Thim­phu.

The main com­po­nent of project are to pro­vide pol­icy and reg­u­la­tory sup­port, short­list­ing of EV sup­pli­ers, ten­der­ing for the in­stal­la­tion of quick charg­ing sta­tions, project mon­i­tor­ing and eval­u­a­tion.

The re­place­ment of taxis with 300 EVs and 12 quick charg­ing sta­tions will also cre­ate aware­ness and ca­pac­ity en­hance­ment. The project tech­ni­cal work­ing group car­ried out fea­si­bil­ity study to iden­tify po­ten­tial sites for the in­stal­la­tion of quick charge sta­tions in Thim­phu Thromde, Paro, Pu­nakha and wang­due. Of the 55 sites iden­ti­fied, 23 are rec­om­mended for im­me­di­ate roll out.

Dur­ing the meet­ing, Sec­re­tary, GNHC, Thin­ley Nam­gyel said that the project is first field project which is funded by global en­vi­ron­ment fa­cil­ity (GEF) in terms of ad­dress­ing is­sue of cli­mate change. He sug­gested the youths to take up this type of tech­nol­ogy.

Shar­ing his con­cerns on the ems­sion caused by the ve­hi­cles, Res­i­dent co­or­di­na­tor of UN in Bhutan, Ger­ald Daly said that the there is a car for ev­ery seven per­son in Bhutan and the ve­hi­cle emis­sions in Thim­phu will triple by 2040.

“These are the chal­lenges and op­por­tu­ni­ties this project is ad­dress­ing,” Ger­ald Daly said. “This project is an ex­am­ple of how mind and heart can be the foun­da­tion for trans­fo­ma­tive de­vel­op­ment,” he added. “As much as pos­si­ble we wish to look for ways to do holis­tic de­vel­op­ment.”

More­over, he said that the project of 300 EVs and 12 charg­ing sta­tions com­bines the mind and heart ap­proach be­cause it helps to keep our en­vi­ron­ment clean while we are us­ing elec­tric­ity which is more self-re­liance.

The project amount­ing to USD 2.65mn is funded by GEF, UNDP for three years in Thim­phu.

For the EVs buyer, 20 per­cent (USD 5,500) per EV will be given as sub­sidy. How­ever, 30 per­cent eq­uity from the ben­e­fi­ciary and upto 50 per­cent loan from fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions, if re­quired by ben­e­fi­cia­ries. Royal Mon­e­tary Author­ity is also will­ing to raise the loan up to 60 per­cent upon the nec­ces­sity.

The project plans to de­velop cri­te­ria for in­ter­ested taxi op­er­a­tors of Thim­phu un­der dif­fer­ent sce­nar­ios (less num­ber of tak­ers or high num­ber of tak­ers) and also fi­nal­ize spec­i­fi­ca­tion and bid­ding doc­u­ment for sup­ply and in­sta­la­tion of quick charg­ing sta­tions.

There should also have clear guide­lines on the de­ci­sion on the se­lec­tion of EV sup­pli­ers. As well as train­ing of EV me­chan­ics and tech­ni­cians.

A study to iden­tify sites for quick charg­ing sta­tions along Thim­phu-Phuentshol­ing high­way in­clud­ing Phuntshol­ing and Haa should be also looked. Once the quick charg­ing sta­tions are in placed, it also re­quires the op­er­a­tion and main­te­nance cost.

How­ever, there are also is­sues re­lated to the start of this project be­cause it could an­tic­i­pate the ini­tial de­lay of the project be­cause of the need to en­gage con­sul­tants for prepa­tory works be­fore EV taxis are ac­tu­ally im­ported.

There are mixed re­sponse from taxi sec­tor on the pro­posed sub­sidy and inad­e­quate quick charg­ing sta­tions and peo­ple are still un­clear on the stan­dards and avail­abil­ity of quick charg­ing sta­tions ca­pa­ble of charg­ing mul­ti­ple brand of Evs, si­mul­ta­ne­u­osly.

Fur­ther­more, the stake­hold­ers meet­ing would dis­cuss on the num­ber of EV sup­pli­ers to be per­mit­ted to sup­ply EVs or this project to ex­tend be­yond Thim­phu if there are no tak­ers in Thim­phu, and im­port of EVs should be based on coun­try or model.

The first stake­hold­ers con­sul­ta­tion meet­ing was held in septem­ber last year. Fol­lowed by sec­ond stake­hold­ers con­sul­ta­tion meet­ing in novem­ber. The project was ap­proved on July 23 and signed (among UNDP, GNHC, MoIC) on Septem­ber 28.

The re­place­ment of taxis with 300 EVs and 12 quick charg­ing sta­tions will also cre­ate aware­ness and ca­pac­ity en­hance­ment.

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