Electric vehicles’ trouble in Bhutan

Despite government push and initiatives by the taxi business owners, Bhutan remains to be tough for electric vehicles due to country’s land formation.

With increasing number of vehicles contributing to pollution, the government is encouraging electric vehicles. According to a 2018 Ministry of Information and Communications report, the number of private cars registered in Bhutan, including taxis, went from 25,000 in 2000 to 89,3000 in 2017.

A Swiss consulting firm estimated that Bhutan’s emissions from vehicles would triple between 2018 and 2030 if the Bhutanese maintain the status quo. This could put Bhutan’s pledge of forever remaining carbon neutral in jeopardy.

Last year, UNDP through Global Environment Facility revitalised the electric vehicle programme with the goal of rolling out 300 electric vehicles in the taxi sector by 2021. 

“Expanding public transit would be my first priority,” says Tenzin Wangmo, the Chief Climate Officer of the National Environment Commission (NEC).

The upfront costs of owning an electric car are already quite high and technology is something that Bhutanese are reluctant to believe in. 

With the vision to become the first full-fledged electric-vehicle city in the world, Bhutan must mobilize significant institutional and financial resources, wrote Nyingtob Norbu in 2015.

First lot of the electric taxis are scheduled to arrive in the country next month. The challenges for these tax drivers is to find recharging stations for their vehicles while providing service.

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