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Jordan’s electric vehicles

Jan 10,2021 - Last updated at Jan 10,2021

Astray from the world trend, the beginning of year 2019 witnessed increasing taxes on electric vehicles in Jordan. Custom tax increased from nothing to 25 per cent. Later on, a weight tax and clearance tax were introduced. Fortunately, this has changed last year, as the extra tax decreased from 25 per cent to 10 per cent for electric vehicles less than 250KW in power, but was spontaneously replaced by increasing consumption tax from 7 per cent to 15 per cent. A game of hesitation and short-term vision incites distrust and fear from investing in the vehicle market.

In June 2019, a policy paper by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung — Amman was published on “Recommendations on E-mobility in Jordan”. That part of it which touches on infrastructure recommended seriously considering electrifying public transport and enabling more electric vehicles charging station to be made available to the public, eventually hoping to reduce private car ownership and to increase sales of electric vehicles in the country.

The latest reduction in taxes on hybrid and electric cars is a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, people are still more conscious of high fuel prices rather than environmental pollution. An ideology which we have to change in time if we want people to act according to the benefit of nature too, being an inseparable part of our ecosystem and existence; a mission that both Ministries of Education and Environment, as well as local NGOs, have failed to accomplish, even marginally.

Hitherto, in the absence of public empathy towards the environment, we can say that government decisions are vital in promoting electric vehicles. Obviously, the government will lose the high revenue of taxes imposed on petrol, because fossil fuel consumption will drop due to more electric vehicles running on the roads, but the government is missing the fact that the nation as a whole would win from less air pollution and from the drop in relevant asthma and other respiratory deceases that cost millions of Jordanian dinars annually; not to mention the quality of human life and efficiency that will be upgraded, so would the entire health of ecosystems around the country in flora and fauna.

Even within the existing number of electric vehicles on the roads, slightly exceeding 20,000 in Jordan, the infrastructure for more electric vehicles charging stations is vital, if more electric vehicles are to be seen on the streets. In Norway, for example, almost 40 per cent of cars sold there are electric vehicles, with the number of charging stations exceeding 16,000, whereas the population of Norway is nearly half that of Jordan. The charger density in Norway is 655 per 100Km; one wonders how much the charger density in Jordan is!

If we look at The Netherlands for another example, with a population of 17.28 millions, it has more than 18,6000 cars (hybrid and electric) with exiting 169,000 charging station to be increased to 200,000 in 2025. These numbers not only make Jordan an infant in this field but also make one wonder about its commitments to greenhouse gases (GHG) reduction by 2030, as transportation share of GHGs is substantial. 

Jordan has committed to reducing GHGs by 14 per cent in 2030, however, a share of 12.5 per cent is completely dependent on foreign aid, and only 1.5 per cent by Jordan`s own means. Therefore, little is being done by international sponsors to support this carbon reduction plan. However, it is hoped that the French assistance in the Bus Rapid Transit project has taken into consideration that the buses running are zero carbon emissions; otherwise we shall hardly see any change in the carbon footprint.

Therefore, one wonders why is foreign aid reluctant in investing in electrifying public transport and assisting in expanding electric vehicles charging stations and recycling electric vehicles batteries. A question that is ought to be discussed as urgently as possible, so responsibility might be shared by all stakeholders, including foreign aid, as to respond to Sustainable Development Goals partnership for achieving the goals set in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly.


The writer is an energy and green buildings consultant

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