Baku hosts electric & hybrid cars rally
By Ayya Lmahamad
Nowadays, industrialized nations are becoming more and more active in addressing climate change. Among the spheres where measures needed to be taken, the car-making industry takes an important place. Switching to a more environmentally friendly mode of transport means becomes the primary focus of the modern automotive industry, since the number of cars is growing at an enormous rate, and the quality of air leaves much to be desired. In this regard, hybrid and electric vehicles are becoming more popular.
Such cars are introduced as an environmentally friendly alternative to internal combustion engine vehicles and are an important step toward “green” driving.
Many countries around the world are introducing customs and tax preferences for the import or production of electric cars and hybrids, the supply of spare parts, batteries, and chargers for them, facilitating the organization of urban charging infrastructure, etc. Azerbaijan also continuously makes steps towards a green economy and the promotion of hybrid and electric cars in the country.
Recently, a rally with electric and hybrid vehicles was organized by the Ecology and Natural Resources Ministry and Energy Ministry, with the support of the Azerbaijan Automobile Federation and ISR Holding.
The car rally, aimed at promoting the use of environmentally friendly cars, continued from Gobustan to the Hybrid Power Station. Here, a presentation was demonstrated to the participants covering such directions as the share of the energy sector in carbon emissions, measures to reduce emissions into the atmosphere, conventional fuel savings in electricity production, energy efficiency, and the use of renewable energy sources.
One of the targets in Azerbaijan's 2030 strategy is the development of green energy and transport in the country, where the latter point provides for the creation of the most favorable conditions for the gradual expansion of the share of cars with electric and hybrid engines.
In this regard, the import of electric cars was exempt from VAT as of January 2019. Further, electric cars and their charges were exempted from import customs duty by the Cabinet of Ministers’ decision of 2022.
In the first half of the year, around 150 electric cars were imported to Azerbaijan, which is 4 times more compared to the same period in 2021. Despite that, the share of electric cars in the country’s car imports is only 0.5 percent.
Experts believe that such a low number of electric and hybrid cars use in Azerbaijan is mainly because there are not enough charging points for them in the country, so citizens prefer to drive cars that run in a more traditional way, only on gasoline and diesel fuel. It is worth noting here that to date, around 25 gas stations in Azerbaijan have been equipped with electric vehicle charging devices. The charging stations for electric cars are located not only in Baku, but also in Sumgait, Guba, Kurdamr, Sheki, Shamakhi, Ganja, Salyan, and Alat.
Simultaneously, among other reasons that prevent people from buying electric and hybrid vehicles is the fact that they are still much more expensive compared to cars with gasoline engines. Moreover, there is a low or even no supply of spare parts in Azerbaijan, therefore customers need to deliver them from abroad, which is also an expensive and long process.
At the same time, the country is making efforts to displace from the market gasoline and diesel cars with a long service life, which pose a threat both in terms of environmental parameters and in terms of technical safety. In this regard, in 2014 a ban came into force on the import of vehicles that do not meet the Euro-4 environmental standard.
All the measures taken to promote environmentally friendly electric cars in the country can make a positive contribution to increasing interest in such cars, minimize the impact on the environment, and fulfill Azerbaijan’s obligations regarding the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
Ayya Lmahamad is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @AyyaLmahamad
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