The government is set to launch a pilot project to explore the feasibility of electric vehicle (EV) usage in the country during the first quarter of this year, in a bid to usher the sultanate towards a low-carbon future. 

Initiated by the Ministry of Transportation and Infocommunications (MTIC) and the Ministry of Energy (ME) in collaboration with the Brunei Climate Change Secretariat (BCCS), the pilot project will run for two years to explore the opportunities and challenges brought upon by the introduction of EVs into the Bruneian market. 

Image: Wardi Wasil

EVs represent one of the main strategies outlined in the Brunei Darussalam National Climate Change Policy that was released last year whereby the strategy seeks to reduce carbon emissions by increasing the share of EVs to 60 per cent of total annual sales in Brunei by 2035. 

Image: Wardi Wasil

Speaking during a press conference on Thursday, the Permanent Secretary at ME, Hj Azhar Hj Yahya who is also the Chair of the Executive Committee on Climate Change explained that the 2035 target will be able to reduce 0.23 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent to planting about 4.6 million trees. 

With this in mind, he added, part of the main objectives of the pilot project is to provide the Bruneian public exposure to the latest technological trends of the automotive industry through EVs, its advantages as well as the infrastructure that is required. 

Part and parcel of this continued Hj Azhar, the pilot project will be used to understand the public’s reception towards EVs and to evaluate the country’s readiness towards the inevitable shift from using conventional vehicles with internal combustion engines (ICE) to EVs. 

Image: Wardi Wasil

“It will also assess the feasibility of EV sales in the domestic market and the data obtained from the project will then be evaluated for the purpose of preparation in terms of the policies and infrastructure related to EVs,” the senior official said. 

“The results of this pilot project will also be able to assess if there are other alternatives other than EV to be implemented in the long run by 2035,” he added. 

For his part, Permanent Secretary at MTIC, Hj Mohd Nazri Hj Mohd Yusof proceeded to announce the launching of the EV pilot project, which will be held next week on Thursday, 25 March 2021, at the Bridex Hall 2 in Jerudong. 

The event will take place for four days from 10am to 9pm and will include a number of activities relating to EVs such as mini symposiums on future EV initiatives delivered by a number of government agencies and organisations. 

The public is welcomed to attend the event as there will also be a showcase on EVs and green vehicles that are already available in Brunei and those interested, will also have the opportunity to test drive the EVs. 

“We hope that public awareness on EVs will increase throughout the duration of the pilot project and these next couple of years will help prepare us for what needs to be done in the future, to ensure that EVs will we widely accepted in the sultanate,” Hj Mohd Nazri went on to say. 

Image: Shutterstock

This initiative is also supported by other private organisations including Brunei Shell Marketing Company (BSM), the Brunei Automobile Traders Association (BATA) and Brunei Insurance and Takaful Association (BITA).

This article was first published on March 20, 2021 in our Weekly E-Paper issue 133

THE BRUNEIAN | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

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