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Uzbekistan Goes Electric

Uzbekistan will abolish customs duties on electric cars.

Friday 6 July 2018, by Nazar TAMASHEVSKA

Last month, Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev signed a resolution On measures to further streamline foreign economic activity and improve the system of customs and tariff regulation of the Republic of Uzbekistan. According to the document, from January 1, 2019, no customs duty is applicable on vehicles operating solely on an electric motor (so, excluding hybrids).

Uzbekistan, as a car producer, has a strict protectionist measures to import cars and trucks. Duties reach 70% of the imported price + $3/cm³ of the motor.

In the same time, we learned that the Chinese company Changan Automobile Group intends to organize the production of electric vehicles (EV) in Uzbekistan’s Ferghana Valley. Talks on the issue were held recently in the Ministry of Innovative Development of Uzbekistan. Representatives of the Chinese company expressed their intention to consider the possibility of building an assembly line for EVs with prospects of production localization. It is planned to invest about $15-20 mln for the first stage of the project, create 100-150 jobs, and build an assembly line of more having a capacity of a thousand EVs per yaer, analogues to Spark and Nexia.

At the second phase, localization of production will be organized with attraction of capacities of the adjacent enterprises of the country, an increase in on-site and off-site jobs. In Uzbekistan, the company intends to focus on the production of modern cars with a hybrid engine or fully electric power unit.

China’s Changan Automobile Group has signed a preliminary agreement with the Ministry of Innovative Development of Uzbekistan on construction of a new electric car plant in Uzbekistan.

Earlier, Uzbekistan’s Uzavtosanoat automobile company announced plans regarding manufacture of electric vehicles. A special concept for the production of this type of car is currently being developed. The document will be ready within two months. In addition, the company’s management is negotiating with potential partners — manufacturers of electric vehicles. This process is anticipated to be completed within six months.

Current mid-summer, two EV models — Chevrolet Volt by GM and a car of the Chinese manufacturer JAC — will be brought to Uzbekistan for tests in the country. The plan is to organize a contest across Uzbekistan, starting in the Andijan region and finishing in Karakalpakstan.

Why EVs for Uzbekistan?

The adoption of EVs and hybrids in a gas and oil rich country such Uzbekistan is a contradiction, especially as their economies rely heavily on the exportation of these commodities. A new trend, though, has emerged in countries such as Dubai, where it has become popular to be seen in a fully-electric vehicle. This newfound popularity boils down to the numerous benefits that electric vehicles offer drivers over regular gasoline-powered automobiles.

While gas prices are affordable in Uzbekistan, EVs can reduce the cost of automotive travel by approximately 50%. Reliability is another factor to consider with EVs, as the absence of a traditional engine and multi-gear transmission will keep repairs and maintenance down to a minimum.

Introduced more than 100 years ago, electric cars are seeing a rise in popularity today for many of the same reasons they were first popular. Whether it’s a hybrid, plug-in hybrid or all-electric, the demand for electric drive vehicles will continue to climb as prices drop and consumers look for ways to save money at the pump. Currently more than 3% of new vehicle sales, electric vehicles sales could to grow to nearly 7% — or 6.6 mln/year — worldwide by 2020.

Large number of electric vehicles (EVs) connected to the grid will have a significant impact on power systems. According to the literature, many vehicles are parked over 90% of the usage time. During the parking of EVs, their batteries have a great storage capacity of electricity. Thus, EVs can be used as a distributed energy sources. At this point of view, EVs might be an important player in the future electricity market, especially parking areas, which have a great EV potential capacity, will be significant.

It is hard to tell where the future will take electric vehicles, but it is clear they hold a lot of potential for creating a more sustainable future. If Americans transitioned all the light-duty vehicles in the U.S. to hybrids or plug-in electric vehicles using their current technology mix, they could reduce their dependence on foreign oil by 30-60%, while lowering the carbon pollution from the transportation sector by as much as 20%.

Uzbekistan going solar

Solar energy developer SkyPower has announced in May a landmark foreign direct investment of $1.3 bln into Uzbekistan to build 1 GW of solar capacity throughout the country, which will be sold to the country’s government through its first Power Purchase Agreement.

The agreement, announced on Monday, means that Canada-based SkyPower will be the first independent power producer in Uzbekistan’s history, moving forward with the full backing of the country’s President Shavkat Mirziyyoyev, who has signed a decree signifying the government’s full support of the government and sovereign guarantees.

As for Uzbekistan, with this single deal the country’s share of renewable energy technology will skyrocket — depending on your definitions. Uzbekistan has 1,430 MW of large-hydro capacity, which the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) deems to be renewable energy but which the Climatescope project fails to classify as renewable energy. Rather, Uzbekistan relies heavily on fossil fuels — with 9,395 MW worth of natural gas capacity and 2,734 MW worth of coal generating capacity. As a result, and somewhat unsurprisingly, Uzbekistan was ranked 67th on the 2017 Climatscope report.

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