On February 19, 2023, the IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society Brac University Student Branch Chapter organized a seminar titled “Revolutionizing Transportation: The Rise of Electric Vehicles” at Brac University. This event’s speaker was Md. Mahbub Ul Haque is an embedded systems engineer at Palki Motors. In this seminar, he shared his perspectives on electric vehicles and highlighted the current status of EV development in Bangladesh.

Electric vehicle technology has developed tremendously since its inception, and today there are various plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicle options available on the market.  Electric vehicles are the best alternative to combustion engine vehicles. Road transport is accountable for almost 16% of global carbon emissions and electric vehicles play a great role in decarbonizing road transport. These  can be energized by a renewable source of energy which reduces the emission of harmful gasses and increases efficiency. The world market has encountered exponential growth in this sector in the last two years. Carried by decarbonizing challenges and environmental preservation, all the developed countries are inclined in investing and research in this sector. European countries like Norway, Sweden, and  Iceland have more electric vehicles than gasoline combustion cars on their roads. However, in our country, ‘Electrical Vehicles’ is a developing sector. Therefore, this branch has great prospects for future engineers and researchers. 

Md Mahbub Ul Haque was the speaker at this seminar. He has been working with Palki Motors Limited as an embedded systems engineer. He graduated from BRAC University in 2022 with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Engineering. He also served as the electric team leader of BRACU DICHARI and a research mentor at the Laboratory of Space System Engineering and Technology in the Brac University School of Engineering. Last year, he worked as an intern at iTesseract Technologies Ltd. Furthermore, he served as a sub-team leader for BRACU Mongol Tori.

Mr. Mahbub began his speech by focusing on the idea that EVs may be humanity’s savior at this historical juncture. The government mandate to electrify a share of vehicles by 2030 is a good start for the EV sector and infrastructure. When discussing the importance of EVs, many people use the “good for the environment” argument to promote EVs. However, persuading customers to buy them is a different story. Price, lack of infrastructure, operation and maintenance costs, and bureaucracy are among the various factors. Essentially, EVs should have a zero-carbon footprint, and renewable energy replaces fossil fuels as the primary energy source. Our honorable guest illustrated his point by comparing EVs to the ubiquitous Toyota Corolla subcompact car series.

A few key points came to light. Early adopters’ tax – Since it is a new technology and the maintenance and repair industry is in its infancy, new users are understandably hesitant to buy in or switch to electric. The subject of charging is another place where Electric Vehicles face some pushback from the public. The cost of repair (batteries and other components) is also relatively high compared to gas-powered vehicles because it is a novel technology. As expected, keeping on the cutting edge of technological development comes at a cost. In addition, price is crucial because it is the first factor consumers see and consider. It is a daunting decision to purchase something that only some people use. Even though EVs are initially more expensive, they quickly pay for themselves through fuel savings and other variables. Last but not least, a joint effort by the government and the private sector to build infrastructure that doesn’t exist and run public campaigns to get people acquainted with the concept of EVs.

At the end of the seminar, there was a Q&A session, and the speaker motivated participants to join the race for EV development in Bangladesh. Lastly, the Chapter Chair presented a crest to the speaker as a gesture of appreciation.