Iran Khodro has signed an agreement with two local universities to produce hybrid and electric cars, with the first models expected to roll down the production line in the next three years.
The Middle East’s leading automaker inked a memorandum of understanding with Iran’s prestigious Sharif and Amir Kabir Universities of Technology for design and production of the county’s first hybrid electric cars.
Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh said the government was preparing a support package to promote such cars as part of a long-term fuel economy plan.
“This package is a prerequisite to the promotion of hybrid and electric cars in Iran because such automobiles must be produced and presented to the market for customers to buy them,” he said during the signing ceremony.
Nematzadeh said hybrid cars cut fuel consumption by two-thirds.
Deputy head for planning and strategy at Iran Khodro Hossein Farsani said the world would witness a “major revolution” in production of electric drive vehicles. The number of such cars rose 100% in 2013 to 405,000 units from just 25,000 in 2010, he said.
Electric drive vehicles are collectively referred to hybrid electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and all-electric vehicles which use electricity either as their primary fuel or to improve the efficiency of conventional fuel.
They are powered by an internal combustion engine or other propulsion source that can be run on conventional or alternative fuel and an electric motor that uses energy stored in a battery.
Iran’s auto industry is the Middle East’s largest but it is based on assembling foreign brands. Air pollution is a major problem of Iran’s major cities because of the fuel-guzzling cars which ply the streets.
Chinese cars have started flooding Iran’s markets in recent years amid intensified sanctions which have kept international car makers out of the Iranian market.
Industrialists say China’s auto industry is a copy of second-hand outdated technology and Chinese cars are only exacerbating Iran’s air pollution.