Opportunities and emerging business models in the Electric Vehicle (EV) sector in Bangladesh

by Bijon Islam

On 10 November, the Road to a Green Bangladesh consortium organised a workshop for the Bangladeshi EV and battery manufacturers to discuss the opportunities and barriers for investment, innovation and wider women’s engagement in the EV ecosystem in Bangladesh.

The event, hosted by one of the consortium partners Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL), with saw participants come together in Dhaka either in person or virtually for those joining from overseas. Attendees included representatives from Bangladesh Auto Industries Ltd, Haq’s Bay Automobiles, Nitol Motors, Navana Batteries Ltd., Rahimafrooz Batteries, Rimso Battery and Co. Pvt. Limited; HAMKO, Confidence Batteries Ltd. and others.  

The workshop enabled necessary and solution centric discussion to be had, addressing issues around topics such as predictable legislative framework to support investment and the development of a sustainable EV ecosystem, presented by financial expert Mate Antosik from Ricardo, the lack of awareness and negative perception around EVs along with affordability and lack of standardisation, and hearing from participants on their views on infrastructure requirements for wide-scale EV adoption in Bangladesh.

A key part of the discussion was an exchange about the limited engagement of women, who remain a largely underutilised resource in the workforce and an overlooked market segment in this sector. It was however encouraging to acknowledge the proactive interest of industry representatives to revert this trend and articulate on the present challenges (such as technical skills, social norms and cultural mindsets) as well as opportunities for strengthening women’s participation as the industry develops. In the discussion on gender equality and social inclusion (GESI), led by GESI expert Silvia Sartori of Hivos – ENERGIA and Asma Huque, Managing Director of Prokaushali Sangsad Limited, participants were also informed about the support being provided by the project to women entrepreneurs with electric vehicles in Bangladesh.

The successful event facilitated important conversations from which actions are being taken and continued to build the momentum around this exciting energy transition and the benefits it can bring to all stakeholder groups within Bangladesh.