In recent years, electric vehicles have experienced significant technological advancements, resulting in lower costs, reduced environmental impact, and increased utility. This progress has been a crucial step towards overcoming challenges and barriers to the widespread adoption of electric vehicles on a global scale. However, for long-term sustainability, it is essential to prioritize the adoption and planning of green public transport and shared mobility infrastructure to further reduce carbon footprints in the transportation sector.
Lebanon’s transportation sector grapples with governance issues, outdated infrastructure, and a car-centric culture reliant on polluting vehicles. No progress has been made in Lebanon’s public transportation since the end of the Civil War in 1990, resulting in challenges in urban transportation, significant traffic congestion, and negative environmental, health, and financial impacts.
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), global transport (measured in passenger-kilometres) is expected to double, leading to a 60% increase in car ownership rates and a threefold rise in demand for passenger and freight aviation by 2070 which shall further aggravatetransportation issues. However, technological innovations and adoption of green transport practices including modal shift to public transportation and green fuel technologies, can help mitigate this increase in demand and the anticipated challenges.
Lebanon’s transportation heavily relies on gasoline and diesel, constituting 97.9% of fuel usage and a strong dependence on fossil fuels. The sector is the second-largest energy consumer, responsible for about 23% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. Outdated and polluting cars result in annual economic losses of at least USD 200 million. Public transportation is underdeveloped, with only 35 buses operating on limited routes in 2019. In 2013, Lebanon emitted 26,285 Gg CO2 eq., primarily from burning fossil fuels, notably carbon dioxide. The transport sector alone contributes to 99% of carbon monoxide emissions, 60% of nitrogen oxide emissions, and over 23% of total annual greenhouse gas emissions.
Lebanon’s transport sector alone contributes to 99% of carbon monoxide emissions, 60% of nitrogen oxide emissions, and over 23% of total annual greenhouse gas emissions.
While the shift to an electric fleet promises a multitude of benefits for Lebanon, it’s important to address the below foreseen challenges that hinder this transition.
Lack of Transport Infrastructure:
Lebanon grapples with outdated and inadequate transport infrastructure, which poses a significant challenge for the integration of an electric fleet. Establishing charging stations and upgrading the power grid to support these vehicles is an essential prerequisite for their successful deployment.
Higher Investment and Low Affordability:
The initial investment required to procure and deploy electric vehicles is often higher compared to traditional combustion-engine vehicles. Lebanon needs to devise financial models and secure funding to make this transition financially viable and accessible, ensuring cost-effectiveness in the long run.
Moreover, the current state revenue structure heavily depends on fuel consumption and vehicle purchase, negatively affecting the transition toward sustainable transport. Thus, the adaptation or proactive shift of the taxation structure will be required.
Lack of Technical Expertise:
Lebanon lacks technical capacity and remains institutionally weak in activities related to transport.Transitioning to an electric fleet necessitates a skilled workforce capable of maintaining and managing the new technology. Providing the necessary training and building local expertise is crucial to ensure efficient operations and maintenance of the electric fleet.
Lack of Public Awareness and Acceptance:
There are many misconceptions in the sector, and the public’s choice of transportation is still a long way from being sustainable. Encouraging knowledge and capacity building is essential to steer consumer preferences away from larger, less efficient cars towards low-emission vehicles or electric cars when making vehicle purchases.
Public awareness and acceptance of electric fleets and sustainable transportation practices are vital for the successful implementation of this initiative. However, Public awareness on the transport options available and the need to change behaviour remains limited in Lebanon. Information about the various types of technologies, their applicability in the local context and impact is still limited and needs to be raised.Education campaigns and community engagement efforts are needed to foster a positive perception and encourage the adoption of electric buses among the population.
Policy and Regulatory Frameworks:
Clear and supportive policy frameworks and regulatory measures are essential to encourage the adoption of electric buses. The absence of specific regulations and incentives for electric vehicles can deter potential investors and operators from embracing this eco-friendly technology.The absence of a financing strategy that looks at the various options available in an integrated manner would set up the needed enabling environment for the country. Moreover, the current state revenue structure heavily depends on fuel consumption and vehicle purchase, negatively affecting the transition toward sustainable transport. Thus, the adaptation or proactive shift of the taxation structure will be required.
Integration with Existing Transportation Systems:
Integrating electric fleet with Lebanon’s existing transportation network seamlessly is a critical challenge. Effective route planning, coordination with other modes of transportation, and ensuring that electric vehicles cover key transit routes are essential aspects that need careful consideration.
Operational Efficiency and Range Anxiety:
Ensuring operational efficiency and addressing range anxiety is vital to gain the confidence of both operators and commuters. Optimizing the routes and strategically placing charging stations can help mitigate concerns related to the range of electric vehicles.
Sustainable Charging Infrastructure:
Establishing an efficient and sustainable charging infrastructure is a significant hurdle. More research in this field is required and the piloting of such technologies would highlight the practical technical needs on the ground.
Lebanon needs to invest in solar-powered charging stations and innovative technologies to make the charging process convenient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly.
By acknowledging and proactively addressing these challenges, Lebanon can develop comprehensive strategies and action plans. Collaborative efforts involving government authorities, international organizations, private sector engagement, and community involvement are key to overcoming these obstacles and successfully transitioning to a sustainable and efficient electric fleet.
The deployment of an electric fleet in Lebanon holds immense promise, presenting a multitude of benefits for the nation.
The initiative by UNDP for the promotion of green public transport services and green fleet management is vital for Lebanon to achieve a sustainable, efficient, and environmentally friendly transportation system. It supports environmental conservation, enhances quality of life, fosters economic growth, and contributes to the country’s long-term sustainability goals. These could be undertaken through– establishing voluntary agreements in the transportation sector and implementing self-certified Green Public Transport and Green Fleet Management concepts for public transport and car fleets in Lebanon in Lebanon can be accomplished through various approaches. Here are some ways to foster voluntary agreements-
Development of green standards– Establish clear and comprehensive green standards and criteria for public transport and car fleets. These standards should cover factors such as fuel efficiency, emissions reduction, vehicle maintenance, renewable energy adoption, and waste management. Engage relevant stakeholders, including government authorities, transport operators, and environmental experts, in the development of these standards.
Voluntary Certification Program: Create a voluntary certification program that allows public transport operators and car fleet owners to self-certify their vehicles and operations based on the established green standards. This program should include a transparent and credible verification process to ensure compliance and encourage participation.
Stakeholder Engagement: Engage key stakeholders from the transportation sector, including government agencies, private transport operators, industry associations, environmental organizations, and community representatives. Create a platform for dialogue and collaboration to discuss common goals and identify voluntary measures to improve the sector’s sustainability.
Multi-sectoral Partnerships: Foster partnerships between different sectors, such as transport, energy, environment, and urban planning. Collaborative efforts can lead to the development of comprehensive strategies and voluntary agreements that address multiple sustainability challenges simultaneously.
Information and Awareness Campaigns: Launch information campaigns to raise awareness about the benefits of sustainable transportation practices. Provide education and training programs to inform stakeholders about low emission technologies, energy-efficient practices, and best practices in fleet management. Empower stakeholders with knowledge and resources to voluntarily adopt sustainable measures.
Incentive Programs: Develop voluntary incentive programs that encourage stakeholders to adopt sustainable transportation practices. These programs can include financial incentives, grants, tax benefits, or preferential treatment for operators implementing green technologies or adopting sustainable practices. Incentives can motivate stakeholders to voluntarily participate and accelerate the transition to low emission transport systems.
Performance Monitoring and Reporting: Establish mechanisms to monitor and report on the environmental performance of transportation operators. Implement voluntary reporting frameworks that track key indicators such as greenhouse gas emissions, fuel efficiency, and air quality. This transparency can motivate stakeholders to improve their performance voluntarily and allow for benchmarking and sharing of best practices.
Voluntary Codes of Conduct: Develop voluntary codes of conduct or sustainability guidelines for transportation operators. These codes can outline environmental standards, energy-efficient practices, emissions reduction targets, and commitments to sustainable operations. Stakeholders can voluntarily adopt and adhere to these guidelines, demonstrating their commitment to sustainable transportation.
Knowledge Sharing and Collaboration: Facilitate knowledge sharing and collaboration among stakeholders through workshops, conferences, and networking events. Encourage the exchange of experiences, success stories, and lessons learned in implementing sustainable practices. This collaboration can foster a sense of shared responsibility and inspire voluntary action.
Effective electric fleet management remains a global challenge due to limited studies and a lack of dedicated departments in many regions. However, the link between electric fleet practices and enhanced company performance underscores the importance of adopting these suggested principles.
pManifold’s innovative solution, the EV Fleet Planner ©, powered by SCILAB and Excel, offers a structured approach to e-Bus fleet planning. With its integrated framework for extensive network planning and efficient fleet scheduling, this tool presents a valuable resource for countries like Lebanon and beyond. By harnessing the power of pManifold’s expertise and technology, regions seeking to implement e-Bus fleets can navigate their planning process with confidence and precision.