The federal government has decided to rename the Electric Vehicle Development Board the ‘Pakistan Technology Development Board’, in consideration of the Engineering Development Board’s (EDB) limited capacity to deal with new technologies.
Sources told Propakistani that the decision was made during the last meeting on the formation of the Electric Vehicle Development Board held at the Ministry of Science and Technology under the chairmanship of the Federal Minister for Science and Technology (MoST), Chaudhry Fawad Hussain.
The minister briefed the attendees of the meeting about the conflict of interest of the Electric Vehicles (EV), the Internal Combustion Engine Vehicles, and the role of the Engineering Development Board (EDB). He warned that Pakistan will lag behind the rest of the world if it does not pursue the latest trends in technology. This is not only applicable in the case of EVs but also to other innovative technologies. He suggested that there must be a platform to deal firmly with matters pertaining to the EV manufacturers.
He further emphasized the creation of a new board under the Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) to fulfill the needs of new emerging technologies like EVs and Fuel Cell Vehicles, and for aiding government policies in providing rebates and incentives.
The representatives of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) supported the notion that the EDB is already handling the auto industry very smoothly. They also stated that although the EDB is implementing the Auto Industry Development Policy very well, it is doubtful that it can be inclined toward internal combustion engine vehicles.
Moreover, the current setup in the EDB is not sufficient for EV Policy and lacks relevant skills and capabilities. They also highlighted that without expertise, the new board may not be able to handle new technologies effectively, and certain types of expertise will be required for matters regarding regulations and certification.
Responding to the remarks of the FBR officials, Minister Hussain retorted that the same board will cannibalize the EV due to a conflict of interest, and claimed that experts can be hired for any future technology.
A representative of the Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB) remarked that there are also other alternate types of vehicles besides EV, which is why a separate Board is the need of time.
Minister Hussain added that expertise in all the aspects of the EVs, like lithium batteries, lithium mining, engineering, etc., is required
The FBR representative stated that international practices may be observed as well in this regard, to which the minister responded that India has a separate board for EVs. Additionally, Norway has planned to end the sale of diesel and petrol engine vehicles by 2025, and the UK and the USA will follow suit in the near future.
The Ministry of Climate Change praised the efforts of the Ministry of Science & Technology in streamlining EV technology in Pakistan. They said that the EV Policy of the Ministry of Climate Change has already been approved by the Cabinet, and emphasized that a separate board is required as suggested in the EV Policy.
The Advisor to the Prime Minister for Climate Change also recommended the formation of a separate board and suggested that the proposal for the separate board with ToRs may be submitted in reference to the ongoing meeting’s minutes for deliberation in the upcoming meeting of the Oversight Committee that is being scheduled in the Ministry of Climate Change.
The Managing Director of the National Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority (NEECA) informed Minister Hussain that it is working on charging stations with the help of the NEPRA that has a mandate for placing charging stations in the country. He said that the penetration number of these charging stations will be 30 percent by 2030.
The NEECA is also preparing a technical report on its feasibility of how the charging stations will affect the electricity grids and incentivization. The charging stations will determine the dynamics of how EV technology will flourish in Pakistan, and the standards of the charging stations will be done with the help of the PSQCA.
The Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) declared that it has developed 40 standards for the EV charging stations, and Minister Hussain directed it to finalize the standards in collaboration with the NEECA. He also requested the MD NEECA to share the technical paper.
The AEDB commended the initiative taken by the MoST and recommended the establishment of a new board. The Chairman PEC remarked that the EDB does not have the capacity to work on new technologies and the formation of a new board to deal with future technologies is the need of the time.