Are citizens with eco car supported, or not?

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Recently, the use of environmentally friendly and cost-effective electric cars has been increasing rapidly. Mongolia first started using electric trolleybuses in 1988. Currently, as of the first quarter of 2023, there are 632 electric vehicles registered in Ulaanbaatar, 77 in local areas, and a total of 709 electric vehicles in the state vehicle registration fund. Head of the Vehicle Registration Department of the National Center for Transport N.Byambadorj clarified about the use of electric vehicles, “In recent years, there is a steady trend of the number of electric vehicles increasing. For instance, in 2021, 97 new vehicles were registered, while last year it increased to 208.  Most of the vehicles were imported from China and Japan. There are 68 domestically assembled and manufactured electric vehicles. Of the total electric vehicles, 525 are passenger cars, 131 are buses, 12 trucks, 35 mechanisms, five motorcycles, and two special purpose vehicles.

There are several advantages for people who choose electric cars. For example, the government decided to participate without any license number restrictions, and they are exempt from paying road usage fees.  Also, the license plate of the vehicle has been changed from last year. Specifically, the background color of the number plates of these vehicles is green. Although the government has created such advantages, citizens are still skeptical about the safety, services, and uses of electric cars. In other words, there are many citizens who want to buy this type of car but cannot use it due to limited service. For instance, a citizen of Bayanzurkh district Chinbat said, “The whole world supports the use of electric cars. I also want to buy such a car, but if I take it, I will face the problem of where to charge it. Of course, it is not possible to charge outside the building. Also, although it is an eco-car, it works on batteries, so I wonder how difficult it will be in winter. Moreover, if you go to the local area, there is no charging source.  According to what I heard, there are charging sources only in Umnogobi, Khentii and Dornod provinces. In Western countries, electric cars travel on the main roads without any problems, and they park for free in all parking lots.”

A current driver of eco cars since they were introduced in Mongolia T.Bulgansuvd said, “I bought a Nissan Leaf when it was imported in 2018. It can travel about 120 km on a single charge.  In other words, it is enough to fall for 2 to 3 days. It should be kept in a warm garage in winter. The problem with driving in the cold is that running the heater drains almost half of the battery. Therefore, it is important to monitor and calculate your charge. Usually, the car battery is charged in the garage of the apartment for four to five hours. By connecting the charger to the home electricity meter, you can monitor your electricity consumption. It costs around 5,000 MNT to 6,000 MNT to charge it once. If you calculate it, you will only pay 20,000 MNT to 30,000 MNT per month. It means very low cost. It takes a little time to charge outside at Petrovis branches. You wait for at least an hour. The downside is that you can’t go to the countryside.  The advantage is that the license plate restrictions will not be affected, and the air pollution and road usage fees will be exempted. Recently, official parking lots have stopped charging for eco cars. Also, although Minister of Digital Development and Communications N.Uchral reported that you can travel freely in the first lane, this is not implemented in reality. When asked about this from the traffic police, “They said they cannot drive through the first lane.”

The director of Leaf Center LLC T.Tumbish said, “The number of people interested in eco-cars and want to get information has increased due to their low cost of use. Since the Covid pandemic, fuel prices have increased. Therefore, there has been an increase in people who are looking to buy 100 percent electric cars,". The company started importing this type of car in Mongolia and has been operating for five years with the motto of making it available for everyone. In the past, they researched and tested what kind of car is suitable for the environment of a country with extreme climate. Accordingly, they are importing a total of 25 types of electric cars. Some of them can only be used in cities and towns. They are also importing cars that can run on gasoline in case of going to countryside and traveling long distances. T.Tumbish said, “Our company, by June, will provide the opportunity for people with eco-cars to travel freely in the Darkhan-Uul-Orkhon direction, and will place chargers at two locations along the road. We have prepared such a work plan and presented it to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.”  The company’s colleagues organized a day to present electric cars in Darkhan-Uul and Orkhon provinces for the first time on March 17-22.

According to the information provided by the policymakers, they are paying attention to and supporting the increase of eco-cars. In reality, according to the data, consumption has not increased significantly. There is also the question of whether government support is adequate.  In addition, they are talking about bringing in electric buses as part of the reform of the public transport fleet. Head of the Public Transportation Department S.Javkhlanbaatar said, “150 public vehicles ordered from our country are starting to leave the factory this month.  It is planned to be imported from June 1”.

Ts.Munkhbat: Researching to establish charging stations at 74 stops

Last month, The Minister of Environment and Tourism B.Bat-Erdene announced support for electric car users. The ministry clarified what activities are being implemented in this area. Firstly, they mentioned that the exports of the Ministry called on citizens to ride electric cars and has set a goal to increase their number by 30 percent by 2030. The ministry started this work themselves, and the minister and some employees got eco-cars. A quick charger has also been placed in the parking lot outside the ministry. An expert from the Department of Environmental Policy and Regulation of the Ministry Ts.Munkhbat gave information on how to support the use of electric cars in the future.

- Has the Ministry of Environment and Tourism made any decision to support the use of electric cars?

- Countries that have joined the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change undertake to implement and report policies and measures to limit and reduce greenhouse gases within the framework of eight goals. One of them is “the goal of taking measures aimed at reducing and limiting greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector.” In Vision-2050 and the National Program for Reducing Air and Environmental Pollution also mention the establishment of a network for recharging vehicles with electric and gas sources, and the complete electrification of public transportation. In addition, establishing a charging network for electric and natural gas-powered vehicles through public-private partnerships, conducting research and testing around ​​introducing techniques, technologies, and vehicles with low negative impact on the environment, creating legal regulations, and reducing air pollution in Ulaanbaatar by 80 percent and other large targets have been set. Currently, there are 1.2 million registered vehicles in the country. They account for 15 to 20 percent of total air pollution sources in Ulaanbaatar.  More than 80 percent of them are old cars over 10 years old.  Also, most of them use low-quality Euro-2 gasoline and diesel fuel with high sulfur content, which is the main reason for increasing the sulfur content in the air by 1.1 to 3.3 times. Mongolia has set a goal to reach 20 percent in 2025 and 30 percent of total vehicles in 2030 to become fully electric vehicles in line with global trends.  To implement this, measures were taken to reduce and exempt electric cars and all types of fast chargers from customs, VAT, and special taxes.

- How well do you coordinate with other organizations in this regard?

- We are inviting companies and organizations interested to cooperate in establishing a network of fast charging stations for electric cars. Currently, companies such as Leaf Center, Global Motors, Erchim Suljee, Junghi International Economic and Technical Cooperation and Shanghai jiuxing energy technology have requested to cooperate with us.

- What activities will be done to increase car charging stations?

- Over the past two months, we have been discussing the installation of quick chargers at the temporary camping points along the national roads in cooperation with the Ministry of Road and Development. We are also discussing with the Ministry of Construction and Urban Development to create a legal arrangement for planning fast chargers in the parking lots of new buildings and apartments, and to include them in the design. In the case of provinces and capitals, a request was made to the directors of Citizen’s Representatives to completely exempt electric cars from parking fees in the case of parking electric vehicles on public roads and fields. In addition, it has been decided to build an electric car charging station based on parking lots and gas stations in certain locations in Ulaanbaatar, and a formal request has been submitted for cooperation. The government has exempted buses with 24 or more seats and a capacity of 45 or more passengers from customs and value added tax on imported goods until December 31, 2024.  Also, according to Government Resolution No.317 of 2021, vehicles with gas-powered engines or electric motors have been added to the list of exemptions from VAT and customs duties. In accordance with Article 8.2 of the Law on Air Pollution Fees, “Vehicles that emit 120 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer or less will be exempted from fees”, cars that work on electricity and gas-powered have been exempted. The Ministry of Environment and Tourism has arranged domestic commercial banks to grant green loans with discounted terms to citizens who purchase electric cars.

- How many places have electric car chargers in the capital and local areas?

- There are 13 electric vehicle charging stations in Ulaanbaatar, nine of which are working normally. There is a single station in Orkhon province. There are 74 paid parking in the capital.  There has been a working group established to research on whether it was possible to install electric car chargers in these paid parking lots and to make a decision based on it.

Amarjargal Munkhbat