The electric vehicle (EV) pilot project initiated by the Brunei Darussalam Electric Vehicle Joint Task (EVJTF) was officially launched on Thursday and as an incentive, all EVs will be used during the two-year nationwide pilot project will be exempted from paying vehicle license fees. 

This was revealed by the Minister of Transport and Infocommunications, Dato Seri Setia Abd Mutalib POKSSDP Mohd Yusof during the project’s launching ceremony which was held at the Bridex Hall 2 in Jerudong. 

Image: Iqbal Dato Selamat

The fee waiver, according to the minister, will be applicable until a decision has been reached on the standard vehicle license rate for EVs which will be enforced on a later date, adding that another significant initiative under the pilot project will involve EV infrastructure and facilities. 

“I understand that one of the main activities that will be carried out during this pilot project is to identify strategic locations where EV charging stations will be installed in phases and stages according to the needs of the people in the country,” YB Dato Abd Mutalib explained. 

Image: Iqbal Dato Selamat

He added how ultimately, the pilot project is aimed at fostering awareness among the public on issues and opportunities related to EVs, and “to have a feel” of overall public reception on shifting the transportation landscape from internal combustion engines to EVs. 

Image: Zaim Kasmat
Image: Abrisam Halim

Citing statistics from the Brunei Darussalam National Climate Change Policy (BNCCP) which was launched last year, the transportation sector had the third-largest share of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in 2018, representing 13.6 per cent of the country’s total GHG emissions. 

“The annual average of new vehicle registration in Brunei Darussalam for the past five years is 12,658,” the minister continued, adding that EVs represent the third strategy outlined within the BNCCP, which has set a target of increasing the share of EVs to 60 per cent of total annual sales by 2035. 

Image: Iqbal Dato Selamat

“According to an early study conducted by the EVJTF with the Brunei Darussalam Climate Change Secretariat (BCCS), by 2035 it is estimated that 11,400 new vehicles are expected to be registered and 60 per cent of them or 6,800 will be made up of EVs,” he added. 

The minister then went on to say that in order to achieve this target, a number of things are being planned for implementation under the EVJTF, which will be done in collaboration with industry players and other interested agencies. 

Image: Abrisam Halim

These include; the preparation of policies and programmes to promote EV ownership including incentives, infrastructure preparation, customer protection, capacity building programmes including retraining and upskilling, emergency response, waste disposal and continuous distribution. 

The topic of EVs and its feasibility in the Bruneian market has grown over recent years especially in the realm of public discourse, particularly since the sultanate’s renewed political commitment towards climate change through a whole-of-nation approach. 

Image: Zaim Kasmat

Aside from the establishment of the EVJTF in 2019 and the introduction of the BNCCP in July 2020, Brunei has also submitted its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) last December which mentioned EVs being viable transport options for the sultanate, considering “travelling pattern is primarily of short- distance with relatively inexpensive electricity for charging”. 

Image: Zaim Kasmat

During the Legislative Council meeting last week, Minister of Energy Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mat Suny Hj Md Hussien said that in a bid to support the future of EVs in the country, the government is committed to installing EV charging stations in every district, with Belait and Temburong being given top priority. 

“The government through the Ministry of Energy is currently in collaboration with Brunei Shell Marketing (BSM) for the installation of EV charging stations in several locations in the country,” he explained. 

Image: Zaim Kasmat

“The government will also provide opportunities to any private companies and commercial building owners for the installation of the charging stations in their premises in order to encourage and give confidence to the public about using EVs,” he added. 

The minister went on to share that current EV technologies enable EV users to charge their vehicles at the comfort of their home via a charging kit that is provided along with the EV. 

Image: Zaim Kasmat

“In this regard, the government through the Electric Authority Brunei Darussalam will also issue safety guidelines for charging EVs in private homes as a reference for the public,” he added. 

Also present to launch the EV pilot project Minister of Development,  Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Ir Hj Suhaimi Hj Gafar, Minister of Energy, Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mat Suny Hj Md Hussien and Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism, Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Hj Ali Apong, who are all Co-Chairs of the Brunei Darussalam National Council on Climate Change. 

Image: Iqbal Dato Selamat

This article was first published on March 27, 2021 in our Weekly E-Paper issue 134

The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

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