In a groundbreaking move towards sustainable transportation, Daewoo Express is set to revolutionize inter-city travel with the introduction of Pakistan’s first Electric Vehicles (EVs) based service, featuring electric buses and rickshaws. The transportation giant has announced plans to roll out 200 electric buses, marking a significant step towards eco-friendly and technologically advanced commuting options.
Daewoo’s Electric Buses and Rickshaws Project
These electric buses are expected to hit Pakistani roads within the next couple of years, accompanied by 1000 EV rickshaws specifically for Karachi and Lahore. Sheriar Hassan, the General Manager at Daewoo Express, highlighted that beyond offering cutting-edge transport technology, the initiative aims to contribute to the enhancement of Air Quality Index (AQI) levels through the adoption of green technology.
Daewoo Express is actively seeking multi-million dollar financing for these ambitious projects from an Asia-based development funding agency, with plans to secure funding by January-February 2024. If successful, the deployment of EV buses on short routes, covering a maximum distance of 225 kilometers, could become a reality as early as the summer of the following year.
To optimize operational efficiency, the EV buses will be strategically deployed on 17 short routes, including key connections such as Karachi to Hyderabad, Peshawar to Rawalpindi, and Lahore to Faisalabad. This approach mitigates the need for extended charging stops on longer routes, ensuring a seamless travel experience for passengers.
Regarding fare structures, the General Manager noted the fluctuating nature of electricity prices, making it challenging to provide definitive details. However, Daewoo Express plans to install charging stations at all terminals to support the new electric fleet.
While no final decision has been made on the manufacturer of the buses, Daewoo Express is in talks with several Chinese bus manufacturers. The company has expressed interest in potentially entering the electric bus manufacturing business if the initial EV buses project proves successful.
In addition to the electric bus venture, Daewoo Express is set to launch an Electric Rickshaw ride-hailing service in Karachi and Lahore. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has already been signed with Sazgar Engineering for the manufacturing of 1,000 electric rickshaws.
Sources suggest that the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and other financing agencies could contribute approximately $24 million to support these pioneering projects. The Ministry of Climate Change has expressed approval for the initiatives, emphasizing their positive impact on pollution reduction. The ministry has also recommended exploring the use of renewable energy sources for charging the electric buses, aligning with the broader goal of sustainable and environmentally conscious transportation in Pakistan.