Over the past few months, we’ve been seeing various announcements by the government regarding electric cars in the country. This has included removing tax and customs duty on electric cars and charging devices, setting up charging ports at major gas stations (I believe there’s still a solar-powered one at El-Hassan Science City from 2011), and working with the Vocational Training Corporation to train technicians on electric car repairs. The Royal Court has also inked a deal in May with Tesla and other car manufacturers, for electric cars to be used in the public sector.
[aesop_image img=”http://black-iris.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/12038220_399840760226350_8754873091097964429_n.jpg” alt=”tesla station in jordan, manaseer” align=”right” lightbox=”on” caption=”The first Tesla car-charging ports at Manaseer gas stations.” captionposition=”left”]
These are undeniably excellent moves. For once, it feels like the government is ahead of the game, or at least not being outpaced, especially when contrasted to several years back when hybrids were first introduced. It took awhile before we saw tax exemptions, widely available technical services in the marketplace, and hybrids with government license plates replacing Mercedes Benzes. Altogether, this is creating an environment that will likely encouraging consumers to switch to electric, and in the absence of a healthy public transport system, this may just help relieve pressure off domestic fuel resources, as well as consumer wallets. And that’s to say nothing of the long-term environmental impact, which is perhaps an immeasurable social benefit.
Given that electricity in Jordan is as scarce a resource as oil (despite its relatively stable availability), it’s currently difficult to calculate just how much electricity these cars will consume, and the subsequent cost, especially if they’re being charged at home rather than a solar-powered port at a gas station. However, a recent piece in the Jordan Times has put together a few numbers, giving us a peek into how much consumers might hope to save with an electric car purchase.
The data is visualized below:
[aesop_image img=”http://black-iris.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Driving-an-Electric-Car-in-Jordan.jpg” align=”center” lightbox=”on” captionposition=”left”]
I’ve been eyeing the EV market for a year now, wasn’t ready to get a 2nd hand Nissan leaf imported from the US just yet, so the RHC announcement of buying a fleet of 140 Renault Zoes and 50 BMW i3s got me all hopeful that this no more maintenance and parts availability issues..
so I headed to the authorized dealers of both, to find them stocking the said models yet ridiculously marked up to the point where you don’t really benefit from the exemption. Fa gov’t move need to tango with market, latter being led by 2nd hand imports will probably spoil it for the rest just like the scooter fiasco of 2005. (grim prediction)
On the other hand, the Jordan Times article seem to quote an official who was probably talking about first-time registration exemption of a specific make; a USD75k Tesla, hence the JD7-9k number, i find it highly unlikely to be similar to a USD25k Zeo or USD40k BMW i3
As for the projected cost of a 400km trip, it assumes residential tariff of consumption less than 500kwh monthly, which is highly unlikely for a regular household, yet alone for one with an EV parked down stairs sipping juice daily, i’d go for the highest bracket of 288f/kwh (ref http://www.erc.gov.jo/images/electric/daleel.pdf page 3) which is still relatively cheaper than petrol.
Thanks for the expertise opinion Bassem, insightful as always.
1) There’s probably a little bit of both things that need to happen. Once they have this regulatory framework setup and the right infrastructure, it opens the doors to competition and prices might become a little more reasonable. The policy moves show a bit of good will on the government’s part, so there’s room for optimism that the long game is being played here. That said, there still needs to be that public-private relationship to keep things in check.
2) It probably is for first time registration. That’s the concerning part, given that they tend to make this up on an annual basis through higher licensing and insurance fees, as Omar Assi pointed out with his hybrid experience:
3) That’s an interesting point. But can we know what the likely consumption rate would be for the average household?
Other than the environment protection, cost saving, availability of support, availability of spare parts, and charging port, a key factor for adopting Electric Cars would be performance: Top Speed, Acceleration/Horsepower, Appearance, interior space, durability, etc.
Thanks for this.
I do not want to “add” points because I am not sure if they are up on the priority list of introducing such an issue like electric cars, my experience in this is limited to a close relative owning one, nothing more. But I have two questions concerning the long-term view of this idea. One is about the total cost one would pay to own such a vehicle. Notwithstanding the generous tax exemptions, what about other accrued expenses? Will I find someone to fix my car? To purchase an item for it? And would it be [much] long until it is a sort of oligopoly? Secondly, with the aim to go-green/clean, lowering our energy bill, and opening up an economic activity (dare I add “entrepreneurial” dear Basem :D) it is, also, key to think of the consequences on many individuals & sectors going to be affected by this. Waiting to see if this kick-off (and/or greedily attempting to be a mere beneficiary) and then worrying about its not-so-immediate consequences is a story we need to outgrow [I think].
@Haitham i doubt the decision maker in this case is thinking of creating an ecosystem as much as it is sloppy governance at best, just like hybrid exemptions fiasco back in 09 and the scooter bipolarity (legalization vs security restrictions), EVs will be at the hand of blind and greedy market powers in the darkness of lack of regulations
Thanks Basem, I -sadly- see what u mean. I was not in Jordan when these incidents (in lack of a better word) happened; but if half of the things I heard are half true then fiascos are what waiting for us I am afraid. And hope is a relative term after all 🙂
I am a big proponent of electric vehicles as alternatives for ICE cars, however, I’m still unsure what to think of this move. Electric cars on average are a little more expensive than normal cars, so even with the tax cuts, they still won’t be as affordable to citizens of lower income levels would like them to be. So they will still be resorting to Kia Sephias and diesel trucks. Even mid-income level car owners might stray away from these cars especially since they might be buying one car to serve their needs, and the majority of electric vehicles cannot be used for long range trips. They’d need charging stations on the way to other governorates. If they are going to other countries via car (eg: Saudi), the other countries need to cater to electric vehicle infrastructure as well. This is a good move for in-city (realistically Amman only – especially in the near future) commuting since there would be no need to charge on your way to and back from work.
One thing to keep in mind is that Tesla Superchargers can’t be used by all electric vehicles, and Tesla cars aren’t affordable to the vast majority of the population even with the customs and tax cuts. I know there are probably other chargers, but I mention this because this becomes unfeasible for people commuting from outside the city because of the charging time requirements. If you check the time it takes for a car to charge, it’s actually significant, with the highest power chargers taking up to six hours of charging time for a full charge. So for people commuting longer distances, this might not make sense, especially when they don’t have a Cheverolet Volt or Tesla S. Other electric vehicles don’t have a high mileage per charge (Nissan Leaf has 84 miles per charge and no backup system, BMW i8 has a 15 mile per charge!)
This move still incentivizes personal car usage which should be what we are moving away from, especially in the capital Amman. Given the population rise in the Kingdom and more specifically Amman, this doesn’t do us any favors in terms of congestion and more sustainable growth patterns. This will continue the trend of car-centricity which will only end badly in terms of mobility throughout the capital.
Also if you look at the life cycle of an electric vehicle, it still produces a considerable amount of CO2 through production and use (19 tons of CO2 vs 25 of a normal ICE car). With all that being said, I will still support the move hoping that it is part of a bigger plan to create a greener Amman, but this needs to come as part of a multi-modal transportation plan, not one that is centered around the automobile.
@ ALI ATTARI – Thanks for the info you provided. The compatibility between charger-car is something vital indeed.
I agree that introducing electric cars needs to be part of a comprehensive plan (we all do I hope!). That being said, how to “start” drawing the guidelines of this plan and who/what is included and who/what is expelled out is a tough sale -in my opinion-. I hope this idea sees light though.
Once Jordan receives the gas pipe from Israel electric current becomes cheap amd assured. EVs then make sense