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Electric three-wheelers contribute Tk 97,625 crore to economy

Jun 4, 2024

| Staff Correspondent

The economic contribution of battery-run auto-rickshaws in Bangladesh is Tk 97,625 crore, revealed a study by the Coastal Livelihood and Environmental Action Network, a non-government organization. The manufacturing industry of the electric three-wheelers is worth Tk 7,500 crore while its battery market is worth Tk 8,000 crore, the study said, estimating that the vehicles’ charging, servicing and use involve Tk 82,125 crore.

The study came in response to the recent government decision to ban electric three-wheelers from Dhaka city streets, inviting frenzied protests for days. The decision was eventually cancelled and electric three-wheelers were allowed back on the streets.

One of the reasons the government cited for taking its controversial decision was about the risk arising from travelling in electric three-wheelers. The study said that among all accidents recorded in the seven years from 2017, electric three-wheelers, which are also called easy bike in many places, easy bikes accounted for 8.6 percent of the accidents. Trucks, on the other hand, accounted for 27 percent of all accidents while motorcycles 24.6 percent and buses 15.71 percent.

‘Easy bikes are safer than trucks, buses, and motorbikes on urban streets,’ said Shezina Khan, an author of the study. The study also found the battery-powered auto-rickshaws the greenest vehicles on city streets, emitting 49.56 grams of carbon dioxide per km against a 1,500 cc sedan car emitting 159.16 grams, and a microbus 198.03 grams.

The study said that there were 45 million people involved with manufacturing, repairing, driving, servicing, and charging easy bikes. Around 25 million people use battery-powered auto-rickshaws for short-distance commuting. The industry consumes 4,905GWh of electricity annually, equal to 659MW of installed capacity. The power sector is currently experiencing 64.2 per cent overcapacity, so easy bikes reduce at least 5.64 per cent of the stranded assets.

‘An easy bike is the cheapest mode of transportation because of the energy cost. It costs Tk 0.97 per km, nine times more affordable than a Sedan car costing Tk 8.60 per km. The energy cost is cheaper than popular bus services, which take Tk 2.15 per km, said Hasan Mehedi, chief executive officer of CLEAN. The study recommended ten steps to make the three-wheelers safer and greener. The first step is to legalize the operation of the vehicles. The other steps included training drivers, replacing led-acid batteries with lithium-ion ones and installing small-scale solar charging stations nationwide.

News Link: Electric three-wheelers contribute Tk 97,625 crore to economy

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