Zim targets reduction of emissions from electric cars use Electric cars could help reduce carbon emissions

Jeffrey Gogo Climate Story

Zimbabwe is targeting to avoid a significant amount of its future carbon emissions through the use of electric vehicles -those kind of cars that do not run on petrol or diesel but on electricity, powered by a powerful battery.

Now that may sound a little far-fetched considering the myriad of economic problems that require immediate Government attention — particularly the electricity crisis that has plagued the economy for the last 20 years.

But Zimbabweans love their cars. In 30 years time, there will be 3,5 million vehicles on the country’s roads, more than double the 1,5 million cars that puffed and smoked in 2016, according to official Zinara data. In 1994, the number of cars in Zimbabwe averaged under 400 000.

Because these cars burn fossil fuels to stay on the road — about one billion litres of diesel and 730 million litres of petrol each year – the surge in vehicle numbers is expected to lead to a 130 percent spike in greenhouse gas emissions from this sub-sector only.

The Ministry of Climate estimates that car-related emissions will reach the equivalent of 5,3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (tCO2e) by 2050, up from 2,3 million tCO2e in 2015.

For a cleaner future, electric vehicles or electric mobility (e-mobility) seem to be a sensible thing to turn to, the Ministry opines, even in light of existing economic shortcomings.

This is why the Zimbabwe Government has started to prepare for a future anchored on electric cars. The first step is to know how to plan for such a future by adopting the necessary technologies.

The Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN), a unit of the UN climate change convention, provides technical assistance with such cllimate-oriented transitions. And Zimbabwe has applied for support to assess market readiness for deploying electric transportation as well as drafting an e-mobility and implementation framework.

According to Elisha Moyo, principal climate change researcher in the Ministry of Climate, the framework is important in meeting the country’s climate goals of cutting emissions by about 33 percent by 2030, as pledged under the Paris Agreement on climate change.

CTCN support is also targeted at helping undertake policy review to recommend the implementation roadmap for deployment, upscaling of the electric-mobility and supporting charging infrastructure.

“We expect to see reduced heavy reliance on fossil-based liquid fuels in the transport sector and diversify the country’s energy mix with low carbon resources,” Moyo noted in the submission to the CTCN.

“In light of the significant contribution of the Zimbabwe transportation sector to the nation’s emissions, the adoption of eclectic mobility as a substitute for fossil fuel vehicles was noted to deliver significant cost-effective GHG reductions,” he added.

He said the “shift has the potential to offer important co-benefits such as reduced energy imports, green growth and local job creation.”

In terms of electric cars adoption, the country might have a headstart compared to other nations in Africa and elsewhere around the world.

“Zimbabwe has also discovered large deposits of lithium which could be useful in e-mobility thus reducing emissions and also increasing adaptation through increased incomes from the proceeds of the mining,” Mr Moyo observed.

Government has identified the transport sector as a major area of emissions reductions, largely as part of efforts to meet the Paris climate targets of reducing global GHG emissions by under two degrees Celsius by mid-century.

Currently, the Ministry of Energy and Power Development is piloting the use of electric vehicles while energy regulator Zera is procuring a demonstration vehicle and promoting setting up of charging infrastructure.

The private sector is also at work, with companies such as Econet and Mobility for Africa having deployed electric tricycles for use in urban and rural setups. In addition, Zera is developing electric cars regulations and standards for charging infrastructure.

“This multi-sectoral entry into the electric vehicle space thus creates the need to ensure a coordinated approach in deploying electric vehicles through a policy document,” Elisha Moyo observed. God is faithful.

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