Why Toyota pushes hybrid cars at the expense of EVs?
When the world is moving towards electric vehicles, Indus Motor Company, which assembles and manufacture Toyota cars in Pakistan, is betting on hybrid cars. It has planned to invest $100 million to start manufacturing of hybrid cars.
The CEO Ali Asghar Jamali is confident that his company has made a prudent decision considering the challenges faced by electric cars in Pakistan.
“I agree EV (electric vehicle) technology is excellent,” said Jamali while responding to a query put by Samaa Digital. “But keeping the challenges the industry faces in Pakistan, we don’t want to be the first movers.”
“Our inter-city transport mostly depends on people traveling by road in cars. We don’t have proper public transport. We don’t have charging stations. For instance, if you own an electric car and choose to go to Sukkur from Karachi, where will you find a charging station? And even if you find one, would you like to wait for two hours to charge your electric car?” reasoned Jamali.
A hybrid car is a ‘hybrid’ between the combustion engine and electric motor as its name suggest. They are powered by an internal combustion engine and an electric motor, which charge batteries. Such cars cannot be plugged in to charge the battery. The battery in the car is charged by regenerative braking and by the internal combustion engine.
Jamali said that hybrid cars will save up to 50% fuel directly impacting the carbon footprint and carbon emission.
He said that electric cars would reduce the carbon footprints of countries where electricity is produced using solar, hydel or wind energy.
“But in Pakistan, electricity is produced using fossil fuel (such as coal, furnace oil, LNG). So, how would it (electric cars) reduce carbon footprints?” questioned Jamali.
He further said that hybrid cars will help achieve all the government’s macroeconomic and environmental goals.
He said that it is our ideal target that the launch of every new model should have 50% hybrid share in the future.
“To meet the increasing demand, we are striving to increase production capacity by further 20% by April 2022 (apart from hybrid),” said Jamali.
He said that the recently announced $100 million investment is completely for hybrid vehicles' localized production and additional $30 million will be spent on plant expansion.
Talking about the increasing car prices, he said that it is difficult to hold prices as exchange rate, freight charges and raw material cost have increased manifold.
“These factors really affect the prices of cars and they are beyond the control of manufacturers,” said Jamali.
However, he said that they would be holding the decision to increase cars price if the dollar rate remains in the present vicinity of Rs169-Rs170.