AN electric vehicle exhibited at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) by the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) has been a centre of attraction as people jostle to the stand to get a glimpse of the technologically advanced product.

In an interview with B-Metro at the company stand, Zera senior electricity engineer Samuel Zaranyika said as a regulator their future success was dependent on new innovations which come up in the world.

“As a regulator we are supposed to lead the way in terms of new innovations which come up in the world. And by just bringing this electric vehicle here we did just that.

“Firstly, this vehicle doesn’t need petrol or diesel as it runs on electricity. Since it’s an electric vehicle it basically means that you charge up the battery and drive,” said Eng Zaranyika.

He encouraged people to adopt this new technology saying it would lead to less pollution in the atmosphere and reliance on imported fuels.

“The advantage of this technology is that there are no emissions, unlike the combustion engines. Now in terms of looking at the world perspective, Zimbabwe is a signatory to some protocols which call for the reduction of CFCs emissions into the atmosphere and with this car in terms of carbon dioxide emissions it’s a big zero. There is also no sound coming out of it which means in terms of pollution there is no air and noise pollution,” he said.

Eng Zaranyika said plans were at an advanced stage to set up chargers along the country’s major highways to cater for these electric vehicles.

“The battery it’s a 62-kW-hr battery and it can take you to about 350 to 400 kilometres and in terms of charging what we are doing as an authority is that we are planning to set up chargers along the highways.

“Currently we have one at our head office in Harare, Mutare and Bulawayo and we will be putting another one in Gweru. So, wherever we put these chargers we know that it will be easy to charge these vehicles since you simply get there and you plug it in,” said Eng Zaranyika.

He said they had since approached the Transport Ministry and city councils to design different number plates and have dedicated parking space for electric vehicles so that they can be easily distinguished during an emergency.

“We have since approached the Ministry of Transport to design different plates for these vehicles which should have a green colour in the background so that they can be easily distinguished.

“The reasons why we want them to be unique in terms of number plates is that when there is an accident the first responder if he or she sees a green number plate, will know that it’s an electric vehicle hence there will be no need to just start cutting up the vehicle to free people because if you do that you are likely to cut through the lithium-ion battery thereby posing fire and explosion risks,” he said.

He adds:

“We also expect city councils to put up dedicated parking space for electric vehicles and Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) to come up with preferential rates for electric vehicles as a way of providing an incentive for people to buy them.”