Putting the foot down : accelerating EV uptake in Kyrgyzstan

Kondev, Bozhil and Dixon, James and Zhou, Zhaoqi and Sabyrbekov, Rahat and Sultanaliev, Kanat and Hirmer, Stephanie (2023) Putting the foot down : accelerating EV uptake in Kyrgyzstan. Transport Policy, 131. pp. 87-96. ISSN 0967-070X (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tranpol.2022.12.007)

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Road transport accounts for around 12% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. As many high-income countries are moving to decarbonise their road vehicle fleets, Kyrgyzstan – with rapid growth in passenger car ownership – is seeing a significant increase in transport-related GHG emissions and air pollution in urban areas. Whilst a transition to electric vehicles (EVs) is a key part of Kyrgyzstan’s Nationally Determined Contribution to the Paris Agreement, the potential for successful EV deployment in the region is under-researched. To fill this research gap, this paper presents an assessment of the potential for EV deployment in Kyrgyzstan. Firstly, we present an investigation of the policy and institutional landscape relating to transport and the promotion of EVs in Kyrgyzstan. Secondly, based on research of 50,000 car sales and interviews with 23 key stakeholders in the country, we present analysis of the existing Kyrgyz vehicle fleet. Thirdly, using information ascertained from the interviews and desk-based research, we conduct a Total Cost of Ownership assessment of EVs versus internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs) in the Kyrgyz context. We find that under the current conditions, EVs can have a lower total cost of ownership against similar ICEVs in Kyrgyzstan. However, it is evident that this is not typically the case: the analysis in this paper suggests that cost-competitiveness between EVs and ICEVs is more likely for larger and higher-powered vehicles, for which the ICEV version has a higher retail price. Finally, combining analysis of these results and analysis of the current conditions in Kyrgyzstan, trajectories for EV adoption in geographically and economically similar nations, and data from expert stakeholder interviews, we propose a set of policy recommendations to accelerate EV uptake in Kyrgyzstan.