Electric Vehicles lead the way to a sustainable future?


Globally, energy is regarded as one of the core elements of social well-being and inessential component of sustainable development. Balanced energy supply and demand are vital considerations for any country when it comes to providing clean, sustainable and affordable energy to consumers. For decades, Pakistan’s primary energy supply a mix has remained dominated by indigenous and imported fossils fuels. More than three fourth portion of the overall energy mix consist of gas and oil to meet energy demand.

The energy sector contributes almost 73% of global greenhouse gas emissions, highlighting the crucial need for a shift to cleaner and renewable energy sources for achieving net zero and a sustainable global future. Worldwide Road transportation accounted for 37% of all energy-related carbon dioxide emissions due to heavy reliance on petroleum-based fuels, making it the biggest cause of global warming. Comprehensive energy demand for petroleum will continue to expand and peak in the mid-2030s as energy consumption in the road sector is expected to increase by 1.26%, with a 1% growth in urbanization mostly taking place in Southeast Asia.

There has been a noticeable increase in the acceptance and use of electric vehicles (EVs) internationally and specially in Pakistan due to the rapid efforts made by government to encourage environmentally friendly vehicles in the transport sector, The government of Pakistan approved an ambitious National Electric Vehicles Policy (NEVP) in 2019 with the goal of electric vehicles comprising 30 percent of all passenger vehicle and heavy-duty truck sales by 2030 and an even more ambitious target of 90 percent by 2040 particularly through the electrification of vehicles to reduce GHG emissions.

Challenges& Barriers:

Public worries concerning the end-of-life management of EV batteries have grown with their rising popularity. Batteries eventually need to be disposed of or recycled because they normally only have an 8-year lifespan. The possibility of reusing the batteries for various applications (i.e. energy storage systems) has attracted attention and important metals can also be recovered when recycling the battery’s components, lessening the negative effects on the environment.

For disposal, appropriate safety measures must be taken to manage the batteries safely. Another issue is the electrical grid’s capacity to support the increasing demand for power and the availability of public charging networks. According to the study, there will be a huge increase in EVs on the road. Southeast Asia will face difficulties because of its poorly developed electric supply infrastructure. To preserve stability, it is crucial to enhance and extend distribution infrastructure, increase energy efficiency and integrate renewable energy sources into the grid, as well as prioritize sustainability, resiliency, equity, reliability and security when improving the electric power system.

The investment and construction of charging infrastructure networks are also big hurdles to meet demand for expansion in the use of EVs in Asia and the Pacific over the next few years. Another pertinent issue is the source of electricity for charging EV batteries, which has implications for carbon emissions. If the electricity does not come from renewable or clean sources, it could lead to a mere shift in emissions and not contribute to reducing total carbon emissions.  

Due to the global effort to increase EVs, the demand for raw materials for rechargeable batteries is anticipated to increase, resulting in a shortage of resources and crucial metals like cobalt, lithium, nickel, manganese and graphite are essential minerals needed for EV batteries, and the demand for EVs is growing, resulting in pressure on the world’s lithium resources. Researchers have discovered that the demand for essential metals such as manganese, nickel, cobalt, and lithium could rise between 1,099% and 7,513% by the year 2050 compared to the demand in 2020.

The way forward

To create a sustainable transportation system, it is important to consider the direct impacts of different modes of transportation and the un-intended consequences of shifting toward more sustainable options. A combination of policies, technological advancements and social shifts will be needed to achieve sustainable transportation through a holistic approach that considers the entire transportation system, including infrastructure, energy sources and behavioral changes. This will require joint efforts from governments, academic institutions, industries and individuals. Comprehensive collaboration across various sectors to ensure a sustainable future and achieve the goal of sustainable transportation will require meaningful and practical measures that include the following:

Integrated Urban Planning: Cities should adopt integrated urban planning strategies that prioritize public transportation, pedestrian-friendly infrastructure and mixed-use development to reduce reliance on individual car ownership and encourage sustainable modes of transportation.

Expansion of Public Transit: Governments should invest in expanding and improving public transit systems, including bus rapid transit networks, light rail, and subway systems, to provide affordable and accessible alternatives to private vehicles owners.

Electrification of Fleets: Beyond passenger vehicles, electrifying commercial fleets, such as buses, delivery trucks and taxis, can significantly reduce emissions and improve air quality in urban areas.

Renewable Sources of Energy: To ensure that efforts are actually green and contribute to net zero, the energy used in transportation, including charging, should come from clean and renewable sources.

Smart Grid Technologies: Investing in innovative grid technologies and energy storage solutions can enhance the stability and reliability of the electrical grid, accommodating the increased demand for electricity from EV charging stations while maximizing the integration of renewable energy sources.

Innovative Financing Mechanisms: Governments should explore innovative financing mechanisms, such as congestion pricing, carbon pricing and tax incentives, to incentivize sustainable transportation choices and fund investments in infrastructure and technology.

EVs hold Momentous Promise in Instrumental Effects on Environment Top of Form

  • Reduced Greenhouse Gas Emissions: EVs produce zero tailpipe emissions, which can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, especially when powered by renewable energy sources like solar or wind. This can help combat climate change and improve air quality in urban areas.
  • Energy Efficiency: EVs are generally more energy-efficient than internal combustion engine vehicles. They convert a higher percentage of the energy from their batteries into power to move the vehicle, resulting in less energy waste and reduced overall energy consumption.
  • Decreased Dependency on Fossil Fuels: By transitioning from gasoline and diesel vehicles to electric ones, societies can decrease their dependency on fossil fuels. This reduces the environmental impact of extracting, refining, and burning these fuels, as well as the geopolitical tensions associated with their sourcing.
  • Technological Advancements: The growth of EVs industry has stimulated technological advancements in battery storage and renewable energy integration.
  • Improvements in Infrastructure: The adoption of EVs has led to investments in charging infrastructure, which can also support renewable energy integration and grid stability. Additionally, smart charging technologies can optimize charging times to reduce strain on the grid during peak demand periods.

While electric vehicles offer many benefits for a sustainable future, challenges remain, such as the environmental impact of battery production, the need for further infrastructure development and addressing issues related to resource availability and recycling. However, with ongoing innovation, policy support, and collaborative efforts across industries, electric vehicles can certainly lead the way towards a more sustainable transportation system.

This exclusive article has been published in Automark Magazine’s July-2025 printed/digital edition.