As permanent solutions to the country’s fuel shortages remain out of sight, Government is stepping up on an ambitious substitute for the precious liquid by promoting the use of electric cars, a top government official has revealed.
Zimbabwe has battled acute energy shortfalls for over a year now owing to low foreign reserves to import adequate supplies.
Writing on his Twitter account yesterday, Energy and Power Development Minister, Fortune Chasi said government is working on introducing incentives for the usage and development of electric cars in the country.
“ENERGY UPDATE: GVT supports the introduction of electric cars. As such the necessary incentives will be announced soon and the infrastructure installed at service stations and along the high ways,” wrote Chasi.
The announcement has however been met with disdain given the country is also in short supply of electricity to power the electric cars.
Last week Chasi said Zimbabwe was reverting to 18 hour long (phase 2) power cuts due to yet another fault at Hwange power station following a slight improvement in energy supply prior week.
However research shows that the cost of owning electric cars is set to be cheaper than that of petrol and diesel powered cars by 2022, Bloomberg New Energy Finance claims.
But for a market with limited purchasing power as Zimbabwe, the idea might be far-fetched for a quick fix to the fuel crisis.
Most Zimbabweans still rely on second hand cars from Japan as the cost of brand new cars is still beyond the reach of many.
In April, Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe, Huang Ping said there is an increase in Chinese companies from both public and private sector keen on partnering local car assemblers to manufacture electric cars.
“What we are doing is to strengthen the cooperation, not only the road construction, railway construction but maybe also manufacturing cooperation, manufacturing cars that use electricity. In that way we can through our joint efforts help reduce the shortage of the gas supply in Zimbabwe but I think some issues are challenges but in the meantime they are opportunities,” said Ambassador Ping
Proponents of electric cars have embraced the technology for its smart environmental impact in clean energy as compared to fossil fuel powered cars.
But for Zimbabwe, the call by government to promote electric cars is being viewed much in its failure to provide adequate fuel in the market than the concern with the environment.