EV scaling workshop organized by Lightcastle Partners and Ricardo

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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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