Green cars gain traction in Pakistan (Pakistan Press International)

August 4, 2015

Auto manufacturers have shifted their priorities not only to meet emissions standards, but also to keep up with government policies to improve air quality in each country. Fuel efficient cars have not yet caught on in developing markets as fast as they have in Western markets but there is a slow, apparent change in car buyers of going green globally. Carmudi, Pakistan’s leading online vehicle marketplace analyzed millions of listings on the company’s car classifieds website, and the data shows that auto demand worldwide, including Pakistan, is shifting towards greener rides.

In Pakistan, green cars have also gained traction in recent years with the number of hybrid cars listed online growing at85 percent in the past two years, alongside a 17.48 percent slump in listings for petrol-fuelled cars. This trend goes hand in hand with governmental policies to improve the country’s air quality and to cut carbon commissions in the coming decade.

Pakistan’s energy and transport sectors are the country’s largest source of emissions, together making up for half of the national total. The transport sector alone is responsible for about a fifth of the country’s total emissions and over half of the oil consumed. “The introduction of energy-efficient mass transit systems and fuel efficient cars could shrink the sector’s carbon footprint by 30 to 40pc by 2025, Abdul Hakeem Baloch, State Minister for Communications, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Hybrid vehicles are becoming popular in Pakistan, imports data shows, mainly because of their perceived fuel-efficiency. Used Honda Vezel 1,500cc, Insight 1,333cc, Fit 1,333cc, and Toyota’s Aqua 1,500cc are also now seen on roads after the Toyota Prius. Honda Vezel costs Rs3.5 million, followed by Insight at Rs1.6m and Fit atRs1.5m. Toyota Prius 1,800cc and Aqua are available at Rs2.5m and Rs1.6m, respectively. Sources said car importers benefited from the concessionary duties as more than 10,000 used hybrid vehicles (up to three years old) have been imported since July 2013, out of which around 8,000 were under category of 1,300cc to 1,500cc while the rest were luxury brands above the 1,800cc category. In February 2015alone, more than 300 used hybrid cars have been imported.

In Sri Lanka, 43.5 percent of cars listed for sale are eco-friendly cars, and out of those, 93 percent consist of hybrid cars. Carmudi Sri Lanka also saw growth in the number of electric car listings, which grew four percent in the past 12 months. Despite the apparent shift towards green rides in Asia and Middle East, countries in Africa have yet to jump on the bandwagon. Carmudi saw low percentages of eco-friendly cars listed for sale on the platform from West African countries such as Senegal (0.79%), Ghana (0.55%), Nigeria (0.37%), and Ivory Coast (0.26%). The slow adaptation can also be seen in East and Central African countries such as Cameroon (0.97%) and Tanzania (0.70%).

So will the emerging markets continue to grow fonder of environmentally-friendly cars? Carmudi predicts that while motor heads in Africa will stick with gas-guzzling petrol-powered cars, in the Middle East, the eco-friendly trend will pick up in the coming years as many federal institutions across the region have begun to adopt electric or hybrid cars whereas motorists in Pakistan and Asia will most likely switch to greener and more economical rides in the near future.