Five lenders arrange Tk 167cr for first electric vehicle plant

Five banks and non-bank financial institutions are going to provide a syndicated loan of Tk 167 crore for the country’s first electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing plant of Bangladesh Auto Industries Ltd (BAIL).

The proposed project’s cost is estimated to be Tk 335 crore. The remaining amount will come from equity and foreign direct investment.

Bangladesh Infrastructure Finance Fund Ltd (BIFFL) is the loan’s lead arranger. The others are Agrani Bank Ltd, Islami Bank Bangladesh Ltd, Bangladesh Development Bank Ltd and First Security Islami Bank Ltd.

According to the BAIL, the BIFFL would contribute Tk 75 crore and the banks the rest Tk 92 crore.

Talking to the Daily Star, Anower Sadat, head of investment of the BIFFL, said they were going forward as their assessment showed that electric vehicles would dominate the future automobile market.

“We do analysis of loan proposals on whether the business is viable or not before approving loans against any project,” he said.

A financing agreement between the BAIL and the financers was signed at Dhaka Club yesterday.

The BAIL has almost completed setting up the factory on 100 acres of land at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar, Chattogram.

Mir Masud Kabir, managing director of the BAIL, hopes to go for commercial operations within next month and for products to hit the market by June or July of 2022.

A Mannan Khan, chairman of BAIL, said their target was to provide sedans and sport utility vehicles (SUVs) at reasonable prices to the middle and lower-middle income groups.

“In our country, the lower middle and middle class dream of buying vehicles but they cannot afford it as the prices are excessive,” he noted.

Considering their purchasing capacity, BAIL will provide them vehicles at affordable prices in semi urban and rural areas, he said.

The company is expecting to sell an SUV at Tk 25 lakh, sedan at Tk 12 lakh to Tk 15 lakh, and a hatchback at Tk 8 lakh or even less.

Khan said electric vehicles would cut fuel cost by 90 per cent and per kilometre energy cost would be less than Tk 2.

The battery capacity will be 50 kilowatt hour. Fully charging an EV would cost Tk 400 as per the existing electricity tariff.

“With a 20 minute charge, our EVs can run 400 km,” Khan said, adding that the car can be charged at home with a regular connection or at a quick charging station.

“Our EV will also reduce maintenance costs by 90 per cent and carbon emission and toxic gasses by 100 per cent while ensuring the better transport performance and road safety,” he claimed.

BAIL will also manufacture two-wheelers, three-wheelers and hatchbacks and has plans to upgrade to pickups, mini-trucks and multipurpose vehicles.

“We have a strong R&D team and are also taking professional and knowhow related technical services from an experienced foreign company, Wuhan Yuanteng Automobile Technology Co Ltd, for this project,” said the BAIL chairman.

He expects the company’s annual car sales to reach two lakh units by 2025 and 10 lakh units within the next 10 years.