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Kazakhstan not ready for electromobiles: expert

09 november 2014, 19:20

Car owners in Kazakhstan are not yet ready to transition to electric cars. This is the opinion of Eduard Edokov, the head of the Independent Automobile Union of Kazakhstan, Tengrinews reports.

"There are innovators and there are followers. The Europeans, for example, are the innovators. They are increasingly using new technologies. To them a car is a vehicle. To us (Kazakhstanis) – it is a measure of one’s wealth, an object we want to be proud of and show it off. Electromobile, if it is not a Tesla, more often than not is but a means of transportation, and is [a result of] a rational approach. In my view, there are still many factors in Kazakhstan that do not allow electromobiles to roll onto the Kazakh roads," Edokov said.

Another important point, impeding the development of sustainable transport in Kazakhstan is the lack of infrastructure. This, according to Edokov, is the task for the government to deal with.

"It is also necessary to cancel the import duty on electric and hybrid vehicles. We need mechanisms that would make drivers interested in buying such vehicles. (...) It will be necessary to resolve the issue with electric charging stations, the speed with which electric cars will be charged, the issue of their operation in low temperatures, the question of disposing batteries and so on," he said.

The Ministry of Investment and Development of Kazakhstan said that up-to-date electromobiles would descend from the conveyor of Ust-Kamenogorsk assembly plant in Kazakhstan before the end of 2014. These will have a power reserve of up to 200 kilometers. Later, President of Asia Auto car factory Yerik Sagymbayev said that the company was planning to start serial production of electric vehicles in Kazakhstan by mid-2015. Other Kazakh automaker AgromashHolding said that it was in talks with Italy's IVECO about production of electromobiles.

Meanwhile, Edokov was skeptical about Kazakhstan producing its own electric vehicles citing fears that the domestic product would be cheap and substandard.

"I am a bit skeptical about this. After all this is quite a challenge. (...) I am not sure that we will produce serious Japanese, American or European brands. I think it will all move in the direction of handicrafts from China," Edokov said.

Edokov also questioned the environmental benefits of electromobiles. He said that experts had been trying to compare the damage from gasoline and that of producing electric energy to charge an electromobile.

“From a number of calculations it appears that the rates are similar or the production of electricity for electric cars is even more harmful. There have been no such studies in Kazakhstan. But after all we will also charge cars with electricity produced by burning more car oil, coal, and so on. As a result, we get environmental pollution," Edokov said.

By Dinara Urazova

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