EghtesadOnline: Providing ecofriendly and efficient transportation has become a real challenge in Iranian megacities with a growing population and soaring demand.
However, authorities are making efforts to streamline public transportation for offering efficient transport services and curbing air pollution.
Replacing carbureted two-wheelers with electric motorcycles is one of the initiatives pursued by urban managers, according to Financial Tribune.
Mohammad Hossein Motevallizadeh, the head of Iran's Power Generation, Distribution and Transmission Company (Tavanir), told ISNA that each motorist drives over 200 kilometers per day in the capital city, Tehran, annually burning 2,100 liters of gasoline that costs the owner over 60 million rials ($444).
Since electricity is heavily subsidized in Iran, "replacing gas guzzlers with e-bikes reduces the annual cost to around 6 million rials [$44]. This eases the motorists' financial stress, as a large number of them use motorcycles to earn their living", he said.
As per the most recent negotiations between Iran's Motorcycle Association and Tavanir, three million fossil fuel burning motorcycles can be replaced with electric ones within two years.
"The plan will eliminate 15 million tons of pollutants from the air," he said.
"On average, each carbureted motorbike produces five to six times more pollution than a vehicle with Euro 2 standards. This is while each motorcycle is used ten times more than an average car.”
Experts believe that every 1 million motorcycles generate 286 tons of carbon monoxide, 100 tons of sulfur dioxide and 7 tons of nitrogen dioxide per day, making the bad air pollution conditions much worse.
“Talks are underway to finalize details of the agreement. In case the plan is successful, it will also be extended to other metropolises,” he said.
A total of 11.5 million motorcycles are registered in the country, over three million of which ply the capital city’s roads.
Loans for Buying E-Bikes
The push to promote electric motorcycles started a month ago, when Tehran Municipality announced that with the help of the state-backed Omid Entrepreneurship Fund, it would extend cheap loans to e-bike buyers, covering 80% of the vehicle's price.
Yousef Hojjati, an official at TM's Transportation and Traffic Organization, said the fund will extend loans collectively worth 12.5 billion rials ($92,500) to the owners of carbureted motorcycles who are willing to replace their vehicles with a new, efficient and eco-friendly one.
The lending is to be offered with an interest rate of 4%.
Hojjati told reporters that senior officials have agreed on the general terms of the incentive.
"TM will start offering loans as soon as the two sides reach an accord on the details," he said.
The price of electric motorcycles, which was about 100 million rials ($740) last March, has almost tripled over the past few months. An ordinary e-bike was sold on Monday for 260-300 million rials ($1,925-2,222).
To be eligible for the incentive, buyers should fill an application form on the website of Tehran Air Quality Control Company (Air.tehran.ir) affiliated to the municipality. Applicants are required to enter their personal ID information plus the motorcycle’s details.
According to TM rules, the incentive will be offered only once to each Tehran resident who buys an electric motorcycle running on a 3-kWh or more powerful batteries.
After the documents are sent by the applicant and verified, the buyer will receive the grant in a month.
The TM move is expected to promote the use of zero-emission electric motorcycles in the metropolis and help curb air pollution in the overcrowded capital.
The renewal of public bus fleet is also high on the agenda of urban managers of Alborz and West Azarbaijan provinces.
Speaking during a press conference on Sunday, Ali Asghar Kamalizadeh, the mayor of Karaj, the provincial center of Alborz, said the municipality has bought 20 new buses that will be added to the urban fleet in the near future.
"The addition is the first phase of a directive set by Karaj City Council on adding 70 new vehicles to the urban bus fleet," he said.
Kamalizadeh added that negotiations are underway to start upgrading around 500 buses operating in Karaj, a major part of which are dilapidated.
In West Azarbaijan, 10 billion rials ($74,000) of budget have been allotted to expand the public transportation system, Aidin Rahmani, an official with the governorate, said.
"Of the total 600 buses operating in the province, 90% have outlived their usefulness," he added.
In view of the economic headwinds facing Iran since the US reimposed sanctions on Iran last summer, the renovation of public transport system by importing new vehicles and even their restoration have become too costly.
These measures, although smaller than the actual scope of the problem, are expected to help alleviate the condition.