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Hybrid cars

While Bhutan continues to lay serious emphasis on green and sustainable transport system, much needs to be done to move away from conventional fuel-run transport system to electric and hybrid cars. Electric and hybrid cars are considered efficient but come at an exorbitant price.

At the same time, while the government continues to focus on green transportation, there is a lack of adequate government support and policies towards popularizing them.

However, in recent times, many hybrid cars are making their headway into the Bhutanese car market, albeit scarcely.

Hybrid cars are different from cars that run solely on battery. Hybrid cars can be run on both fuel and electricity and while running on fuel, it will automatically recharge the battery pack so it can run on electricity again without charging.

While some hybrid cars can be charged automatically while running on fuel mode, others also have a plug in feature which means one can charge the battery without the need to run on fuel mode.

To many, it may come as a solution to ‘range anxiety,’ of conventional electric cars that can run for a certain distance and is required to charge for hours. Hybrid cars on the other hand can still run on gas after its battery runs out. The car can reverse its energy source as need arise.

However, these cars are beyond the pay grade of many Bhutanese civil servants. For a majority of the Bhutanese civil servants and corporate employees, fuel run cars, easily available in the market and at affordable rates is still the primary choice.

Taxes for hybrid cars range between 45 percent to 65 percent based on their cylinder capacity.

Some hybrid car dealers in the country are looking to establish a business deal with the government, who will buy these hybrid cars and use them as government pool vehicles.

Some local economists say that while the initial capital cost of the car may be higher than other cars, it will render many economic benefits in the long run since it will save in terms of money spent on fuel.

Bhutan spends more than Nu 8 billion every year to buy fossil fuel from India. This amount is bigger than the net revenue earned by our hydro power sector.

Therefore, it may be worth carrying out a thorough cost-benefit analysis of using hybrid cars as pool vehicles. And if it leads to lesser maintenance cost, serves the same purpose efficiently and consumes less fuel, perhaps it can achieve the vision of green transportation.

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