EV taxi drivers demand more charging stations

Retail sales of EVs in Bhutan see three-fold jump in FY22

Over 60% of the consumers believe that an EV is beyond their budget

The retail sales of Electric Vehicles (EV) in the country have witnessed over a three-fold jump in the first quarter of this fiscal year as compared to the trend of 2017’s fiscal year.

The finding is as per the data compiled by the Ministry of Information and Communications (MoIC).

In March 2022, around 201 EVs were registered with the Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA), according to the MoIC.

A MoIC official mentioned that between 2017-2018 and 2020-2021, the number of EVs rose to 248 excluding the 64 electric taxis in the country. The number of EVs will be increased by over 80% after the completion of the EV project of the government to bring in 300 EV taxis in the country.

He also shared that the EV Road Map aims to increase EV sales to 20% of the total vehicle sales in the short term- from 2021 to 2025 and increase it to 50% by 2030, and then to 70% by 2035 in the long term. It also aims to increase charging stations in the country.

However, Bhutan’s road to a fully-electric ecosystem still has a few hurdles – high cost, inadequate infrastructure, and lack of high-performing EVs.  

As the electric variants of the two and four-wheeler are often priced much higher than regular fuel options, this is the most important reason for the slow adoption of electric mobility.

One of the EV retailers in Thimphu said that the maintenance costs are high mainly due to the lack of necessary amenities. Over 60% of the consumers believe that an EV is beyond their budget.

“The EVs in Bhutan so far have only been variants of the already available fossil-fuel-driven two and four-wheeler. High-performing luxury variants or supercars of EV are yet to hit the Bhutan markets,” he said.

Another retailer said that they are hoping to convert more consumers into EV owners as the government is offering subsidies for purchasing EVs.

“Under the EVs scheme, the government has been trying to improve the infrastructure for EVs in the country. There is also a plan for EV charging stations to be set up in 16 dzongkhags in the country,” he said.

Registrations for new EVs soared 60% in the first three months of 2022 even though new car registrations were actually down to around 30% on the whole, according to the Vehicles Statistical Bulletin of MoIC.

EVs now account for 4.6% of all passenger vehicles being sold in Bhutan. There are around 948 EVs in the country including EV taxis, according to the report.

Kinley Yonten from Thimphu