LAHORE: An automobile manufacturing company has revealed its future plan to introduce electric vehicles in Pakistan, saying that hybrid electric vehicles are their first step in this direction.
Speaking at an auto conference, titled “Role of hybrids in transforming automobile landscape in Pakistan”, Indus Motor Company Chief Executive Officer Ali Asghar Jamali underlined that his company was working on “Make in Pakistan” philosophy and invested around $100 million to produce hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs) in the country.
“We have a plan to bring electric vehicles (EVs) in the long run when Pakistan is ready for this technology,” he mentioned.
He was of the view that Pakistan should develop a national industrial policy for a period of 20 years, so that serious foreign investors could come to Pakistan, eventually attracting foreign direct investment in the fields of steel manufacturing, light engineering, etc.
“It will further strengthen the local value addition in the whole value chain,” he added.
“The automotive industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the country and it accounts for 2-3% of GDP (gross domestic product),” he said, adding “Pakistan is the 35th largest producer of automobiles.”
Jamali underlined that they were increasing the production capacity to meet increasing customer demand, while suppliers were also requested to enhance their capacities to meet future demand.
He pointed out that his company was aiming to “produce over 90,000 vehicles in 2022 with 100% efficiency and overtime”.
“Currently, we are putting in extra effort and time to produce vehicles more than our capacity,” he maintained.
Introduction of hybrid technology would add a new dimension to localisation in Pakistan, he said, adding that it would also benefit the country by saving foreign exchange and slashing the oil import bill through reduced fuel consumption.
“Hybrid vehicles are a mid-term solution before EVs, as Pakistan does not have the infrastructure ready for the electric variants,” he noted.
“We can confidently say that with the existing power generation mix, HEVs can serve all the objectives of EVs, including the cap on carbon emissions, reduction in oil import bill while contributing to localisation and increasing the GDP size,” he claimed.
“Pakistan imports $9.7 billion worth of crude oil for refineries to produce petrol and diesel and the largest category of import is petroleum commodities,” Jamali said, adding that the import bill could be reduced by 50% if the country had 100% HEVs.
On the other hand, he said, EVs depended on electricity and “Pakistan is producing 62% of electricity based on fossil fuels with up to 30% line losses”.
“EVs will cause an increase in LNG (liquefied natural gas), coal and crude oil imports while investment for improving distribution and creating infrastructure to charge those vehicles will also be required,” said Jamali.
Therefore, based on the current infrastructure and forex reserves condition, HEVs were the most viable solution for Pakistan, he added.
He mentioned that all major auto manufacturers were working on HEVs and their efficiency would further increase in future as safety features would be added in the new generation HEVs.
Speaking about the recent price hike for vehicles, the CEO said that the whole “world has witnessed unprecedented inflationary pressures in the last couple of years and Pakistan is no exception”.
The Covid-19 pandemic resulted in disruption of the global supply chain, which worsened further in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Jamali added.
“Rupee-dollar parity, exponential increase in the cost of utilities, overwhelming freight charges and government taxes of up to 40% have contributed to the adversity in Pakistan,” he said.