While filling up my vehicle at the IBA Petrol Station in Lambak recently, seeing the first ever retail rapid charging station made me realise that having electric vehicles (EVs) zooming by on the roads is actually a reality.
The station features a Shell Recharge 175 kilowatt hour rapid charger which can charge an EV from zero to 80 per cent in under 30 minutes. A similar charging station can also be found in Jerudong at After Chukkas Assador Restaurante in Jerudong exclusively for Porsche vehicles.
If I do decide to get myself an affordable EV, I can actually find a station with a charging port.
I was surprised to find that there are companies in the Sultanate committed towards pushing the use of EV, such as the Berakas Power Company Sdn Bhd (BPC).
Head of Support Services at BPC Haji Suharafadzil bin Haji Yusop said the company had made an investment in acquiring an EV in November last year to support Brunei Darussalam National Climate Change Policy (BNCCP) initiatives.
He said the move is also in support of the company’s corporate and social responsibility.
The EV is the first step in the company’s goal to make use of a fleet of BPC EVs to be used by the company and its staff in the future.
“Currently, after making use of the EV after 10 months it has a current mileage of 7,000 kilometres,” said Haji Suharafadzil. “Some of the benefits of using the EV is its zero emission, the vehicle also has no noise pollution as it is using a motor that produces little to no noise.”
The biggest benefit using an EV, he said is it costs less compared to using fuel and diesel, a 36 per cent decrease. He also stated that with the government supporting the promotion of EV in the country, there is currently a two-year waiver for road tax on EV in the country.
The country has also established the Electric Vehicle Joint Task Force (EVJTF), aimed to ensure a whole-of-nation approach in introducing, developing and implementing policies, while supporting the setting up of EV infrastructures as well as addressing the challenges and opportunities of EVs at the national level. The taskforce, co-chaired by the Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications (MTIC) and Department of Energy at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), comprises government agencies, authorities, private sectors and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
In March last year, a two-year pilot project on EVs was successfully launched, aimed at raising public awareness on EV usage so that Brunei can achieve 60 per cent of EVs share in the total annual sales by 2035.
Themed ‘Driving towards a Greener Nation’, the EV pilot project is set to increase the awareness of the advancement of vehicle technology through the use of EVs and assess feasibility of EV sales in the domestic market. There are still some other challenges in having the population transition to replacing their current vehicles with EVs. Most notably is the price of purchasingan EV.
This was acknowledged by Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah during the launch of the retail rapid charging station in Lambak. In his welcoming speech, he lauded the Brunei Automobile Traders Association (BATA), which also plays a significant role in EV adoption as they receive real-time information from manufacturers on plans to shift away from producing internal combustion vehicles.
The minister said it is important that the public is aware of practices and knowledge of EV ownership and its requirements.
He also highlighted that he is looking forward to seeing a range of EVs to be introduced in Brunei Darussalam, especially more affordable models to facilitate adoption.