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Bhutan Sustainable Low-emission Urban Transport System

The Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC) held an Inception workshop for Bhutan Sustainable Low-emission Urban Transยญport System, funded by Global Environment Facility (GEF) with total financing of USD 2.65 million this week. The project aims to faciliยญtate low-carbon transition in urban Bhutan by promotยญing the use of low emission vehicles (LEV). In specific, the project will launch 300 numbers of electric vehicles replacing with the internal combustion engine vehicles as a preferred fuel source of transport in the urban sectors of the country. The project will be implemented for a period of three years starting from July 23, 2019 to July 22, 2021.

Officiating Secretary of MoIC said that the ministry will discuss more with stake holders and review the draft. He said, โ€œLEV car priority should become a norm for customers in future.โ€ The ministry led following three points for discussion;

Suggestion on the EV suppliers

Support from EV supยญpliers for installing Quick Charging Station.

Modality of distribution/ allocations.

The workshop was the discussion between different stake holders like local finanยญcial institutions, regulators, the vehicle companies and Bhutan Taxi Association. Samden Vehicles Private Limited, Dawa Lham sugยญgested that the Government must have a selected brand for the vehicles. She added, โ€œWe are the suppliers supยญplying only the cars but not the charging station. And the charging station is a difยญferent company. So, the govยญernment must make the proยญvisions based on promoting LEVs by establishing more charging stations in suitable locations.โ€

The project intends to reยญmove policy and regulations that obstructs the growth of LEV markets. Initially, the workshop was to creยญate and develop awareness, clear misperceptions and reยญstrains regarding the LEVs of the wide range transport stakeholders to promote the standards of such vehicles. Regional Technical Specialยญist from GEF under United Nations Development Proยญgramme, K Usha Rao stated that in monitoring the projยญect, GEF maintains certain specification and requireยญments for the stake holders to fulfill the main motive of such projects.

Furthermore, the accesยญsibility to finance the LEVs, and the availability of the sales service and electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) were found out to be the key to tackle the chalยญlenges of the project and attract the potential buyers. In addition, the project will collaborate with the local financial institutions to deยญsign and implement ideal financial support measures and product for EVs. It will enhance the number of charging station across the country and built a valuable business model to secure its sustainability, reliability and further growth in acยญcordance with the suitability of the road terrains of the country.

Regarding the potential buyers, the project targets the taxi sectors of the counยญtry and expects the EVs (taxยญis) to increase by four times in the next three years of implementation. However, Officiating vice president, Dorji Wangchuk from Bhuยญtan Taxi Association (BTA) raised concerns for the drivยญers who had already bought new combustion engine vehicles and have existing loans. In retrospect to the concerns, he also suggested the MOIC to collaborate with BTA in the selection of the brand of EVs.

According to the press reยญlease, the project is expected to establish an ecosystem to promote sustainable and inclusive transportation serยญvice which is safe, reliable, accessible and affordable for all, and to contribute to the goal of remaining carยญbon neutral at all times. Officiating MoIC secretary said, โ€œIt is not the MOICโ€™s project, it is the nationโ€™s project.โ€ The project is a naยญtional significance for its diยญrect effects on reducing the emission from the transport sector. As a result, the projยญect can strengthen the conยญservation of environment which is one of the four pilยญlars of Gross National Hapยญpiness.



By Kinley Wangchuk


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