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According to local reports, the country is looking to take major steps in the transition to zero-emissions in a move that may dramatically reduce foreign currency demands and the nations’ fuel import bill.

Only one question remains - whether the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) can convince Zimbabweans to come along for the ride.

According to reports, the regulator is acquiring an electric vehicle (EV) to promote the technology in the country, in an effort to garner support for the initiative from authorities.

Zimbabwe typically consumes in the region of 7.6 million litres of both petrol and diesel per day, and this figure is set to increase unless drastic measures are taken.

At present, foreign currency shortages are limiting the import of essentials like fuel, and the move to EVs will offset these requirements in what may be a cure-all for both issues.

Adopting EV technology

ZERA's acting chief executive officer Eddington Mazambani was quoted as saying: "Zera, the energy regulator, has mooted the idea of adopting this EV technology and has made a decision, which has been given the nod by government, to procure a demonstration electric vehicle to raise awareness on this technology to Zimbabweans," said Mazambani.

"Procurement of the EV is in progress and a vehicle is expected to be on the streets by Christmas this year.” Read more: EV100 initiative sets target for 2030

"(The) fuel import bill will be drastically reduced by endorsing EVs in the domestic and commercial sectors of the economy. ICE taxis, delivery vehicles, ambulances...easily come to mind as good candidates for EV adoption."

Mazambani stated that over the course of 2019, ZERA will be appealing for a "total waiver or drastic reduction" on import duty of EVs, as well as a preferential licensing system, and support for the local assembly or manufacture of EVs through relevant organs of state.

Infrastructure support – through EVs

ZERA plans to assist in the development of charging and other infrastructure for commercial vehicles, such car rental and taxi fleets, but this will be underpinned by stakeholder awareness and media communications.

The regulator expects that electric battery powered vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf, the BMW 13, and Tesla will be on the country’s road within the next three years.

This article was published on our sister website Smart Energy International.