In A Bid To Remain Carbon Neutral, Bhutan Aims To Buy More Electric Cars

Email

It is estimated that through the initiative, Bhutan will reduce carbon emissions by 93,000 tons over the lifetime of one electric vehicle.

Thimphu is the tiny capital city of Bhutan. There are no traffic lights in this city. There is, however, one controlled intersection where every day a police will direct traffic with his hands with dance-like movements. (Source: Youtube/Thimphu traffic cop dance-2.)

 

By Phub Gyem BBS

In the latest development towards the implementation of Bhutan’s Sustainable Low-Emission Urban Transport system, the Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC) has written to the Royal Monetary Authority (RMA) to increase the loan ceiling for the purchase of electric vehicle taxis to 70 per cent. The intention is to purchase electric vehicles of better quality as they come at a higher cost.

Aims of buying better electric vehicles

This is to make electric vehicles affordable for taxi operators. Bhutan’s Sustainable Low-Emission Urban Transport system aims to roll out 80 electric vehicle taxis in the Thimphu region by the end of this year.

The aim of this project is to steer Bhutan’s effort towards remaining carbon neutral. The RMA also increased the loan ceiling on the purchase of electric vehicles to 50 per cent.

 

In 2014, ex-Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay of Bhutan and Nissan's CEO Carlos Ghosn announced an agreement between the nation and the carmaker to work together towards converting the country's vehicles to almost all electric power.

Photo: Green Car Reports

 

“Through some research, we have come to know there are a lot of electric cars that give a good range of about 200 to 400 kilometres after one time charge. For instance, the Nissan 3rd generation gives 400 kilometres, likewise, the Hyundai Kona also gives the same range and Ford gives 200 to 300 kilometres. All of these cars cost a minimum of Nu 1.5 M to Nu 2.7 M. So if taxi operators choose a car that gives 400 kilometres the cost is also higher, and then comes the question of affordability,” Phub Gyeltshen, the Project Manager of MoIC said.

There is a 20 per cent subsidy grant which translates to US$ 5,500, on the purchase of every electric vehicle taxi. Till date close to 100 taxi operators have already registered with the project office.

Advantages of using electric cars

“I personally like electric cars. The fuel price keeps fluctuating these days and we could save if we don’t have to fuel cars,” Tshering Wangmo, a taxi operator, said.

“We spend at least Nu 800 to 900 on fuel every two to three days when we don’t have passengers. And when we have passengers, we spend more than Nu 1000 a day,” said Tshomo, another taxi operator.

“Initially there weren’t many interested but now we have quite a lot interested and wanting to register. If the project office sets up adequate charging stations across six regions of Thimphu, Punakha, Paro, Chhukha, Haa and Wangdue Phodrang, I don’t see any inconveniences,” Dorji Wangchuk, the President of Taxi Association, said.

The project is expected to bring in significant health, environmental and cost benefits. It is estimated that through the initiative, Bhutan will reduce carbon emissions by 93,000 tons over the lifetime of one electric vehicle.

Besides this, the project will also help cut down the cost of fuel import. According to the National Statistics Bureau, in 2016 alone Bhutan spent more than Nu 7bn on fuel import.

Plans for more charging stations in the pipeline

The project also plans to set up 25 charging stations in six districts- Haa, Paro, Punakha, Phuentshogling, Wangdue and Thimphu.

 

Electric Vehicle charging station.

Photo: Asian Correspondent

 

It is projected that 300 taxis in these districts will switch to electric vehicle taxis within three years. It was found that taxis form only five per cent of the total vehicle fleet. But their contribution to carbon emission is three times higher due to higher travel intensity and mileage of about 75,000 kilometres per year.

“The emission from cars is very high in Thimphu considering the increasing number of cars in the town. We targeted taxi drivers because it is the taxis that travel the most. They go about 150 to 200 kilometres, minimum every day. Consequently, they are the ones who use the most fuel, emitting more harmful gases,” Phub Gyeltshen, the Project Manager from MoIC, added.

The MoIC is implementing the project together with UNDP Bhutan with the financial support of US$ 3 M from the Global Environment Facility.

 

This article first appeared in BBS and has been edited for Daily Bhutan.

 


Related Posts

College Of Science & Technology Students In Bhutan Built...

The vehicle resembles an auto-rickshaw but has better looks with Bhutanese design.

Mar 26, 2019 19:18

Green Road Project - An Innovative Way To Pave Roads Using...

Bhutan aims to cut the amount of plastic waste going to landfills by 30 to 40%.

Feb 06, 2019 17:54

Say ‘NO’ To Plastic - Bhutan Takes Concrete Action To Wean...

Earnest effort and concrete action must be enforced to wean ourselves off our reliance on plastic bags.

Feb 02, 2019 14:12

Samdrup Jongkhar Aims To Be The First Plastic Free Town In Bhutan

It may take time for Samdrup Jongkgar to become a completely plastic-free town but the residents will work towards...

Sep 11, 2018 16:56

Pristine Bhutan Strives To Maintain A Carbon Neutral Development...

Bhutan is also a biodiversity hotspot with over 6000 species of flora and approximately 1900 species of fauna.

Jan 25, 2019 17:38

Carbon Negative Bhutan Strives To Maintain Its Status As The...

The mountainous state absorbs three times more carbon dioxide than it emits, thanks mainly to the lush forests covering...

Oct 12, 2018 17:36

Latest

News

Bhutan Celebrates World Children’s Day, Renews Commitment To Well-Being Of Children

UNICEF’s Bhutan Representative, Dr Will Parks said that children today encounter multiple challenges to childhood that were not envisaged 30...

Nov 21, 2019 23:38

Dumtseg Lhakhang Restored To Its Former Glory By Her Majesty The Royal Grandmother Of Bhutan

Her Majesty the Royal Grandmother graced the consecration ceremony of the renovated Lhakhang on 15 November.

Nov 17, 2019 16:28

Features

Homestays Gaining Popularity With Tourists Seeking To Experience Authentic Bhutanese Lifestyle, Food And Culture

Villagers were provided with grants to help them develop homestay facilities such as indoor plumbing.

Nov 18, 2019 21:58

Global Happiness Alliance Aims To Spread Concept Of Gross National Happiness Worldwide

The alliance seeks to enhance the understanding of GNH as a concept and to spread it all around the world.

Nov 08, 2019 23:08

Sports

Bhutan’s Pelden Wangchuk Wins 10th Edition Of Tour 0f Dragon Mountain Bike Race

This year, the race also saw the highest number of female participants compared to past years.

Sep 10, 2019 01:08

Tour Of The Dragon – Toughest One Day Bike Race Starts On 7 September In Bhutan

It takes sheer toil and stamina for the top riders to complete the 268 km race which finishes at the capital, Thimphu.

Sep 06, 2019 23:58

Business

Celebrating Bhutan's Entrepreneurs: Kinley Rabgyel Of Goximbo

This story is part of an exclusive feature by Yeewong Magazine in Dec 2018 on celebrating entrepreneurship in Bhutan.

Nov 20, 2019 23:58

Gakyed Gatoen - Festival of Happiness Seeks To Promote Bhutan’s Products

The idea of the festival was to enable tourists and Bhutanese to learn about the traditional cottage industry.

Nov 01, 2019 23:28

Travel

Bhutan’s Black-Necked Crane Festival Drawing More Foreign Tourists

Some 500 tourists from around the world came to Bhutan to see the Black-Necked Crane festival, exceeding the number of locals.

Nov 14, 2019 23:18

Bhutan Bird Festival Set Bird Watching Haven Of Zhemgang Abuzz

Zhemgang is home to more than 500 species of birds, which is an area much sought after by bird watchers from around the world.

Nov 13, 2019 12:48

Lifestyle

Bhutanese Textiles To Be Exhibited In Paris Trade Fair 2020

The exhibition is an initiative of the EU-Bhutan Trade Support project.

Nov 10, 2019 12:48

Launch Of Karen Greenspan’s Footfalls From The Land Of Happiness: A journey Into The Dances Of Bhutan

The book delves into familiar subjects that are what continues to shape Bhutan’s image.

Oct 05, 2019 10:18

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!