Government is soon expected to unveil incentives for the introduction of electric vehicles in the country as part of efforts to reduce the fuel import bill. The development will also slash the demand for foreign currency in the country.
Energy and Power Development Minister Advocate Fortune Chasi said yesterday that once incentives for introducing electric vehicles have been unveiled, attendant infrastructure would be put in place. "Government supports the introduction of electric cars," wrote Minister Chasi on his Twitter handle.
"As such the necessary incentives will be announced soon and the infrastructure installed at service stations and long the highways."
The Herald understands that some of the incentives include total waiver or drastic reduction on electric vehicles' import duty, preferential licensing system through relevant bodies and facilitating the groundwork for the future prospect of having local assembly or manufacture of the vehicles.
The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) indicated recently that it was in the process of acquiring an electric vehicle to be used to promote the technology in the country. Interest in electric vehicles is sharply rising across the world as they are seen as cheaper to operate compared to petrol and diesel vehicles.
For Zimbabwe, which is contending with shortages of forex, the adoption of the electric vehicles technology would be seen as some sort of panacea to the growing demand of forex. Zera acting chief executive officer Mr Eddington Mazambani told The Herald recently that Government had allowed the energy regulator's proposal to purchase a demonstration car.
"Zera, the energy regulator, has mooted the idea of adopting this EV (electric vehicle) technology and has made a decision which has been given the nod by Government to procure a demonstration electric vehicle to raise awareness on this technology," said Mr Mazambani.
"Procurement of the EV is in progress and a vehicle is expected to be on the streets by Christmas this year.
"(The) fuel import bill will be drastically reduced by endorsing EVs in the domestic and commercial sectors of the economy. ICE taxis, delivery vehicles, ambulances . . . easily come to mind as good candidates for EV adoption." Mr Mazambani said there were numerous reasons for adopting the electric vehicles technology, including zero emissions, a drastically reduced service routine and more powerful motors, with instant torque, implying that there was no energy wasted in acceleration.
Further, EVs have a cheaper running cost per kilometre as they require electricity of about US$5 compared to 120 litres of petrol required to for the same trip. Electric vehicles are also noise-free, have low maintenance costs due to fewer moving parts. In preparation and anticipation for the arrival of the demonstration electric vehicle, and going forward, Zera plans to assist in setting up systems for commercial EV fleets (car rentals and taxis, among others); conduct stakeholder awareness workshops; introduce charging points at vantage points; demonstrate the EV when delivered; develop pamphlets and newspaper adverts.
A Tesla electric car has reportedly been imported into the country. Tesla, Inc is a US automotive and energy company based in Palo Alto, California that specialises in electric car manufacturing.