Pakistan launches electric vehicle plan with cars in slow lane

first_img“Eventually I’d like to buy a small car for the family, as the children are getting older. I would buy an electric car, if they are affordable.”He will have to wait a while to find out.After a lengthy delay, Pakistan’s ambitious electric vehicle (EV) policy was approved for implementation this month, but a late-stage change leaves cars out of its first phase.Critics warn this means it will take longer for Pakistanis to reap the policy’s environmental and financial benefits. Ghulam Hussain was used to zipping through the streets of Lahore with his wife and three young children perched perilously on his motorbike, whenever they visited relatives or ran errands.But now that Pakistan has launched a plan to move vehicles over to electric power, Hussain is excited about the prospect of no longer spending 4,000 rupees ($24) each month on petrol.”It would be a substantial saving for me to switch to an electric motorbike,” said Hussain, who works as a driver for a family in the upscale Gulberg district, earning about 20,000 rupees a month. Covering buses and trucks, as well as two- and three-wheel vehicles, including rickshaws and motorcycles, the new policy introduces a raft of incentives to encourage manufacturers to start producing electric vehicles and customers to buy them.Passed on June 10, the new policy was originally approved by Prime Minister Imran Khan in November, with the goal of cutting air pollution and curbing climate change.It aims to bring half a million electric motorcycles and rickshaws, along with more than 100,000 electric cars, buses and trucks, into the transportation system over the next five years.The goal is to have at least 30% of all vehicles running on electricity by 2030.After pushback from traditional automakers, the first stage of the policy bypasses cars to focus on motorbikes and rickshaws – the most common form of transport in Pakistan’s densely populated urban areas – as well as buses and trucks.Malik Amin Aslam, climate change advisor to the prime minister, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that incentives for cars would be added to the policy “at a later stage”, without specifying when.Leaving out cars makes the new policy “like a wedding party arriving with no bridegroom”, said Shaukat Qureshi, general secretary of the Pakistan Electric Vehicles and Parts Manufacturers and Traders Association (PEVPMTA).”The rest of the world is adopting this technology and it is pollution-free. The sooner it comes, the better it is for everyone,” he said.Abdul Waheed Khan, director general of the Pakistan Automotive Manufacturers Association, which represents petrol-powered carmakers, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that the policy “states the broad parameters to which we agreed”.”We appreciate the direction and are awaiting further details,” he added.Poorer families left behindMian Ali Hameed, marketing director at Sazgar Engineering Works Limited, a leading rickshaw manufacturer, said his company was ready to start producing electric rickshaws before the end of 2020.Hameed confirmed that Sazgar’s e-rickshaws will be more expensive than traditional versions, costing about 400,000 rupees, compared with 250,000 rupees for a petrol-powered ride.However, customers will soon see savings, as their petrol use drops dramatically and they spend less on maintenance like oil and filter changes, he explained.”Customers could recover the (purchase) cost in one year, according to our estimates,” he said.One potential obstacle to the speedy uptake of EVs is a lack of charging infrastructure. To address that, the policy makes it cheaper for authorities and companies to install charging stations in cities and along motorways.But Qureshi of the PEVPMTA noted that owners of electric motorbikes, e-rickshaws and small electric cars do not need to wait.”You just plug them in at home, like a fan,” he said.Qureshi worries that leaving cars out of the policy for now will disadvantage lower-income families, estimating that switching to a small electric car could save up to 25,000 rupees a month in fuel costs.”For many families in Pakistan, this much savings per month means a change in their lifestyles,” he said.Good for healthAddressing concerns about the cost of electric vehicles, climate advisor Aslam said the policy includes incentives for their owners, such as removing yearly registration fees and a 50% discount on motorway tolls.In a country where large cities routinely suffer high levels of air pollution, the benefits to Pakistan’s environmental health will also be significant, he added.Each electric vehicle produces 65% fewer pollutants than traditional petrol-powered engines, he said.According to the latest World Air Quality Report, Pakistani and Indian cities dominated the most polluted cities in 2019.Much of that pollution is due to Pakistan’s rapid motorization, environmental experts say.A World Bank study published in 2014 noted that the number of vehicles on the country’s roads jumped from about 2 million in 1991 to more than 10 million two decades later.The blue skies Pakistanis witnessed during the coronavirus lockdown showed “the extremely strong nexus between congested vehicle traffic and air pollution, especially in urban centers”, Aslam said.According to Syed Muhammad Abubakar, an independent environmental researcher based in Lahore, the transport sector produces more than 40% of the air pollution in Punjab province.There is “no time to lose” in cleaning up the air in Pakistan’s cities, especially in the midst of COVID-19, he said.Pointing to a recent study by researchers at Harvard University, Abubakar noted that even a small increase in long-term exposure to air pollution particles can lead to an 8% jump in the rate of deaths caused by the respiratory illness.”Pakistan must learn and take drastic measures to limit the increase in air pollution. Otherwise, the lives of many will be at risk,” he said.center_img Topics :last_img read more

How Brazil Made Something out of Challenges

first_imgVanessa Obioha brings home a vivid account of how the Olympic spectacle became reality for Brazil, while chronicling the controversies leading to the gamesThe odds were cruelly stacked against her. Looking at the prevailing circumstances, nothing was in their favour. From the Zika Virus to economic crises, everything looked so gloomy for the South American country. After a nine-year wait to host the Olympics, her moment of glory arrived. Finally, Brazil became the first South American country to host the Olympics. In place of the usual celebration and excitement accompanying what many countries would consider good news, Brazil struggled with despair and frustration. Staring at her boldly in the face was the mosquito-borne Zika Virus which made Australian top-golfer Jason Day pull out of the sporting event. There was also the pollution of the Guanamara Bay where the sailing sports will hold.Away from health and environmental plagues, the country had to contend with economic and political issues. Early this year, President Dilma Rousseff was forced to vacate the presidential seat following allegations of complicity in a money laundering scandal at the state-controlled oil company Petrobras. Recession was at its peak and terrorism was a present danger.. Just two weeks before the Games, an Islamic jihadist group was busted by the Brrazillian police.Besides its internal problems, other participating countries had their own issues that impacted on the reputation of the games.. Russia, an active participant in the games waited till the eleventh hour to know her fate following the doping crisis. They were initially banned from the games as most of their athletes failed the doping test. Almost one -third of the athletes were not allowed to take part in the games.Perhaps, the biggest hurdle for Brazil was its initial budget of $18 billion for the games. In 2012, London spent $15 billion on Olympics while Sochi spent $21. 9 billion in 2008. Brazil however will be the first country to host the Olympics for a lesser budget of $13.3 billion since1960. With a per-capita income of $8, 802, the country was forced to revise her 2016 budget to $170 billion reais. At the end of the day, the country could only cough out 10 per cent of London’s budget.Yet, hope was kept alive for the South American country. Friday came with a beam of hope despite the protests in some parts of the city that forced the Olympic torch bearers to change course.In Rio de Janeiro, the host city of the XXXI Olympics, a large crowd had assembled, taking in the breathtaking view of the Maracana Stadium. Lights and fireworks were already on display. Behind the stadium stood the magnificent Christ the Redeemer statue, standing like an eternal sentry watching over the city. Situated at the Corcovado Mountain, overlooking the city, the orgnisers found other aesthtetic uses for statue; projecting light in the green and yellow natiionl colours of the country, which illuminated the city at night. The splendour of the 38 metres tall statue seemed to offer redemption to the groanings of the city.At exactly 20:00 Brazilian time (00:00 Nigerian time), the world became a stage for the opening ceremony of the Olympics. For the next couple of hours, Brazil forgot its woes and basked in the glory of its rich culture.Starting with a video of a wave crashing into a beach, the video gave an aerial tour of the city, highlighting its popular sports played on the beach, roof-tops of buildings, including its historical Amazon forest and the streets of the city. It was followed by a countdown. At the count of zero, the whole stadium erupted in a colourful and magical display of fireworks and lights, eliciting thunderous cheers from the thousands of spectators gathered there.Before the spectators could snap out of the reverie of the fireworks, the choreographers marched in, shimmering in their silvery attires. With the map of the country boldly displayed on the floor of the stadium, the metallic paper carried by the performers created an illusion of waves. More fireworks were ignited in the stadium as the drum rolled, for once dimming the various controversies that had riddled the country in the past weeks leading to the event.Brazilian singer Paulinho da Viola performed the Brazil National Anthem while the flagpole seemed as if it sprouted from the ground of the stadium.Portraying the image of a happy people with more athletes and youngsters coming on stage, the organisers took the spectators on a historical journey.The history and development of the South American comany through the years was re-enacted on stage. Themed ‘The Birth of Life’, the journey began in the land of the palm trees.Enveloped by projections of clouds or waves, followed by insect-like puppets and a swarm of yellow butterflies, the choreographers showed the lifestyle of the people who lived in the forest.An indigenous representation of their heritage in the Amazon followed suit with the use of elastic surgery band which at first looks like a spider web but transformed to three pyramidical structures that represents the traditional huts of that time.In came the ships, showing the arrival of the Portuguese and their use of trees to change the landscape. The African slaves were the second to arrive and left great footprints in the sand of the time. The arrival of the Arabs further showed the mixed ethnicity in the country. A major takeaway from the history lesson is the role of the Japanese in Brazil. The Japanese population in Brazil is greater than anywhere else except in Japan.The old Brazil soon gave way to a contemporary ‘Box City’ with the erection of buildings nd structures similar to a modern city. Sprightly gymnasts were seen jumping over the burgeoning metropolis represented by the big thick boxes. The city comprises of 73 stacked boxes which are used as mini-stages. At this juncture, there were more trees on display.Rapidly, the dancers began to stack the boxes to reveal the historical air plane inventor from Brazil, Alberto Santos Dumont ready to take off in his iconic 14 Bis. He is believed by Brazilians to be the original inventor of the flying craft. He was represented by another man and flew further than his 60 metres in 1906 within the stadium. While he was enjoying the scenery of the beautiful city, Uber model Gisele Bundchen catwalked the length of the stage to Daniel, who performs his grandfather’s (Tom Jobim) popular song ‘Garota de Ipanema’ (Girl from Ipanema)More performances followed before the 11,000 athletes representing the participating countries marched in, waving their flags with pride. Ahead of each country was a Brazilian cycling in colourful tricycles. The athletes were also given seeds which they left in a trail, signifying the legacy they will leave behind after the games. The seeds would later form a brilliant green version of the Olympics rings.The organisers also seized the opportunity to campaign against global warming.The Olympic cauldron was finally lit by former marathon runner Vanderlei Cordeiro de Lima. And off went the fireworks igniting the kinetic sculpture of the cauldron in brilliant kaleidoscope of lights. Designed by American artist Anthony Howe, the cauldron is a hybrid that moves itself through the wind and reflects fire. It represents the sun, a major source of renewable energy.What Brazil lacked in funds, they gained in setting. In the words of Leonardo Caetano, Rio 2016 ceremonies director: “We had much less budget than any of the most recent opening ceremonies – we used that to our benefit,” the Brazilians gave the world an unforgettable show.But the implication of this is feared to have an adverse effect on the people. The protests so far were from civil servants who moaned the non-payment of salaries and lack of infrastructure in the city.Will the momentary glory of the opening ceremony override the rising tides of multifarious colossal problems before the end of the games?Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

PowaKaddy and England Golf gift trolleys to support disabled golfers

first_img18 Nov 2014 PowaKaddy and England Golf gift trolleys to support disabled golfers England Golf and PowaKaddy have given electric trolleys to several of the country’s golf-related disability groups to help improve access to the game. England Golf presented PowaKaddy electric trolleys, which had been used by its top amateur golfers playing in some of the world’s most prestigious events, to England Deaf Golf, England and Wales Blind Golf and the Disabled Golf Association. Each group was given the freedom to determine who would be awarded each individual trolley and all used the opportunity to increase engagement with their members and promote their involvement in golf. For instance, England Deaf Golf chose to award its trolleys as prizes to the winners of the 2014 England Deaf Golf Open, while England and Wales Blind Golf Association put its allocation to use during this year’s Auld Enemies match against Scotland, from which it emerged victorious (pictured). England Golf Disability Manager Jamie Blair was delighted that the trolleys have been used to encourage participation in the sport amongst disabled golfers. He said: “I would like to thank PowaKaddy for their generous donation. England Golf is proud to recognise that it is not just non-disabled players who represent England throughout the golfing year. A number of disability golf organisations compete on national, European and world stages throughout the year.   “Disabled golfers and those with a long-term limiting condition account for 10% of those playing once a week in England and I know that the trolleys will go to good use and Powakaddy’s recognition of those playing the game, not just elite golfers, is great to see. “The disability golf organisations run tournaments and are always looking for support for events and for their players. It is the long-term ambition for England Golf to provide support for talented disabled players competing at these levels.” As official trolley supplier to England Golf, PowaKaddy presents a fleet of its state-of-the-art electric trolleys to both men’s and women’s squads ahead of the golf season each year. This year, the nation’s elite amateurs received the outstanding FW7 model, which has been met with widespread acclaim from media, retailers and the public, alike. PowaKaddy chairman John deGraft-Johnson spoke of his pride in seeing trolleys once used by the country’s rising stars help to promote and support disability golf. He said: “Everyone at PowaKaddy takes great pleasure in knowing that we are supporting amateur golf at the highest level as Official Trolley Supplier to England Golf. “We are just as delighted to know that the equipment no longer required by the national squads is being put to great use by various disability golf associations, providing a tremendous opportunity for their members to enjoy our great game.”last_img read more