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EV scaling workshop organized by Lightcastle Partners and Ricardo

The barriers around EV adoption, investing in the EV ecosystem, and women employment in the sector in Bangladesh were the main topics for an event organized on November 25, 2021, by Lightcastle Partners and Ricardo. This event was part of the UK Government-funded “Development of an EV Financing Tool and Business Model to Enable the Scaling up of EV Uptake” (“Road to a Green Bangladesh”) project which is aiming to support the local uptake of EV in the country.

The event was moderated by Mehad ul Haque, Senior Business Consultant and Project Manager of Lightcastle Partners. Bijon Islam, CEO of LightCastle Partners stated in his welcome note to the participants that Bangladesh is already moving in the direction of implementing EV in our country.

The speakers presented and discussed the findings from several case studies throughout the month. Mate Antosik, Programme Coordinator of Ricardo, shared the results of the financial institution survey. He stated, “For our studies, we reached out to financial institutions about their loan facilities for sustainable products and solutions. We found out that about half of them are already offering it and about one-fourth of them are interested in EV implementation for low carbon emission technologies.”

Along with these findings, Silvia Sartori, Senior Project Manager at ENERGIA Hivos, and Hasna Khan, President, Prokaushuli Sangsad Limited focused on Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) in the scope of the EV ecosystem. Silvia explained that “The UK’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund intends to support poverty alleviation and reduction of carbon emissions while also fostering Gender Equality and Social Inclusion. In this project our emphasis on GESI is twofold: on the one hand, we are strengthening GESI in the EV ecosystem, on the other hand, we are supporting a specific batch of women entrepreneurs, in rural and urban areas of Bangladesh, who wish to include EV into their operations. In the area of mobility service provision, the engagement of women matters both in the workforce as well as a customer segment. We are particularly looking at what barriers hinder wider participation of women and what opportunities an industry expansion could provide for a stronger inclusion of women.“

Companies that joined this event were Shuttle, Lily, Loop Freight, REDX, Goods in Motion, and Jatri. In light of the findings, they shared the potential of adopting EV for the service and ride-sharing sector. Lily, a ride-sharing service for women by women riders also expressed that they are trying to acquire EVs for their riders but mostly the challenges stem from issues around financing and adaptation. Lily founder Syed Saif mentioned, “All of our customers and the service providers are women. We have tried to adopt EVs on a smaller scale through our fleet, but as EV cannot be registered, traffic penalties and harassment ensued. For now, we dropped the ridesharing service, but we are planning to relaunch it by next year with a new solution.” Local businesses are also leaning towards EV technology as they are cheaper and easier to maintain.

Iftekher Bin Naser Chowdhury, Chief of Staff of ShopUp stated in the topic of barriers faced regarding implementing EV that ”The government and the policymakers have long-term visions about Digital Bangladesh where EV can play a big role. To fully adopt EV in the ecosystem there need to be overall policy changes as well as incentivization to change the existing consumer behavior.”

While using EVs seems beneficial with the fuel price hikes and transportation fares, it also poses challenges related to EV adoption for the startups who do not own their own fleet or have to source their financing. The panelists and participants also discussed women’s participation in this specific sector compared to men and the challenges they face while doing so.

This program is focusing on the smooth implementation of EV as a part of the Green Recovery Challenge Fund in Bangladesh.


Guests:

  1. Reyasat Chowdhury (Founder and CEO, Shuttle)
  2. Syed Saif  (Founder and CEO, Lily)
  3. Rajib Das (Founder and CEO, Loop Freight)
  4. Iftekher Bin Naser Chowdhury (Chief of Staff, REDX)
  5. Abrar Chowdhury (Head of Marketing, Goods in Motion)
  6. Aziz Arman (Co-Founder and CEO, Jatri)
  7. Mohammad Nazim Uddin (CFO, Paperfly)
  8. Mehad ul Haque (Senior Business Consultant, LightCastle Partners)
  9. Bijon Islam (CEO, LightCastle Partners)
  10. Mate Antosik (Programme Coordinator, Ricardo)
  11. Silvia Sartori (Senior Project Manager, ENERGIA Hivos)
  12. Hasna Khan (President, Prokaushuli Sangsad Limited)
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Financial Institutions and Businesses Join UK PACT Supported Initiative Road to a Green Bangladesh

Two new platforms, a financial institutions working group comprising banks, non-banking financial institutions and fintech firms, and a business engagement group comprising corporates, have been established as part of an initiative funded by the UK Partnering for Accelerated Climate Transitions (UK PACT) Programme to support green growth by increasing the use of electric vehicles for businesses in Bangladesh.

Ricardo, an international energy and environment consultancy, is leading the initiative with Bangladeshi partners, to support organisations in developing business cases, finance models and making funding applications.

To help the project’s objectives, the Financial Institutions Working Group (FIWG) and the UK-Bangladesh Business Engagement Forum (BEF) have been established at the launch event held on the 16th September.

The FIWG comprises banks and financial institutions acting as broader supporters of the Road to a Green Bangladesh project. The working group will facilitate the designing of financing models and advising on the full spectrum of financial services that could be leveraged into the project.

The BEF will serve as a platform for the engagement between businesses and financial institutions. The forum will seek to encourage dialogue by sharing outputs of the project on the potential and viability of electrified transport solutions, suitable financing options and mechanisms for e-mobility, and demonstrate long-term sustainability that would be key to the businesses.

Dr. Atiur Rahman, former governor of Bangladesh Bank who attended the event as Guest of Honor highlighted the importance of financial institutions and the role of central banks in the fight against climate change. General Manager of Bangladesh Bank Sustainable Finance Department, Khondkar Morshed Millat, who was a special guest at the session, shared the central bank’s strategy and initiatives to support green growth programmes including Electric Vehicles. The session was moderated Dr. Masrur Reaz, Chairman of Policy Exchange Bangladesh

Project co-ordinator Mate Antosik, a principal consultant with Ricardo, said: “This is a major milestone for the project. Launching these two platforms is crucial in the engagement with key stakeholders – financial institutions and businesses – going forward.

“Many businesses in Bangladesh would like to make the switch to electric vehicles, but there are a number of barriers, including financing and knowledge of the products. These two groups will be able to work with them to help make it easier to access different transport options.”

Also in attendance were Doyin Adele-Shiyanbola, Second Secretary, Political, from the British High Commission in Dhaka, and senior officials from HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank, EBL, Brac Bank, IDCOL, DANA Fintech, Shohoz and Advanced Dynamics. Ricardo, with its consortium members IDCOL, Light Castle Partners, Policy Exchange Bangladesh and Hivos Energia, has received funding for the project from the UK Government Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) under its UK PACT (Partnering for Accelerated Climate Transitions) Green Recovery Challenge Fund (GRCF).

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Future of electric vehicles in Bangladesh discussed at high-level meeting

Progress towards the increased use of electric vehicles in Bangladesh was one of the topics for discussion when the country’s experts and stakeholders were brought together ahead of COP26.

Dr M Masrur Reaz, Chairman of Policy Exchange of Bangladesh, was invited to the meeting hosted by the British High Commissioner in Dhaka on the occasion of visit by COP26 Regional Ambassador Ken O’Flaherty to talk about the opportunities in the country for electric cars.

The evening hosted Bangladeshi specialists to discuss priorities and expectations ahead of the 26th United Nations Climate Change conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, at the end of this month. It was an important opportunity for country experts to meet in person and exchange knowledge and ideas in the international fight to tackle climate change.

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