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Evolution of Electric Motor Vehicles (EMVs), how ready are we as a Country?

The universal realization that climate change is real and its effects primarily global warming, has negatively affected the entire globe, prompting various nations to devise pragmatic mechanisms in which such effects can be curtailed. Several intervention measures across various disciplines are being implemented world over to stem these adverse effects of climate change. As a key mitigation measure, one of the most ambitious programs that many nations have committed themselves to is to cease the manufacture of fossil-fuel propelled automobiles between 2030 to 2050 and replace them with environmentally friendly Electric Motor Vehicles (EMVs). Some measures we could undertake as a nation to adequately position for this technological shift in automobile industry include; • Amend Chapter 87 of the Customs and Excise Act to propose reduction of customs duty on electric vehicles from the current 15% to 0. This would be a catalyst to promote capital injection through Foreign Direct Investments (FDI). • Establish electronic vehicle manufacturing or assembly plants closer to the source of raw materials to lessen transportation and production costs; Copperbelt, North-western, Southern and Central could be ideal. • Government through ZCCM-IH encouraged to sign Memorandum of Understanding with mining entities to return at least 1% (8.8Mn Kg) of their annual mineral output locally for production of components and accessories for approximately 100, 000 EVs/annum. • Establish charging points countrywide in conjunction with power utilities and municipalities. The charging circuit can be activated by entry of a token. • Increase awareness of the overall benefits of electric vehicles to stimulate the appetite for demand both locally and regionally. Currently the cost of fuel is at K24.15 per litre while the cost of electricity is at 47 ngwee to K1.94/kWh, therefore driving an electric car would be approximately six (5) times cheaper than a fossil fuel one of equivalent passenger size and weight. Hence, the service cost is also 30% lower over a comparable duration which makes electric vehicles unquestionably economical. With Zambia endowed with key mineral inputs to the electric vehicle sector such as copper, cobalt and nickel, it accords the country a unique competitive advantage with a huge opportunity of being leaders in the field. It’s important to note that the world is steadily migrating towards clean and green energy technologies in almost all sectors and Zambia cannot afford to ignore the trend. We should aim to be trendsetters as opposed to being trailblazers. The Ministry of Green Economy and Environment has exhibited Government’s unwavering commitment towards curbing of greenhouse gasses. The transport sector migrating to full electric vehicles from fossil fuels offers low hanging fruits towards net Zero Carbon Emissions. If these measures are implemented, the country has the ability to go to full scale electronic vehicle manufacturing in the next 4-5 years, and complete phasing out of fossil fuels automobiles by 2052.