Most of the Middle East has little reason to want to embrace alternative fuels, but Iran has always stood apart from the rest of the region. Following the announcement of a sweeping electric motorcycle and scooter program, Iran has broken ground on its first lithium-ion battery factory, according to Iranian English news network Press TV.
Iran’s Defense Minister, Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan was at the opening of the plant, which will produce batteries for both military and civilian applications. ““The new plant has an annual production capacity of 2.5 million ampere-hours generated by different types of flat and cylindrical rechargeable batteries for civilian and military applications,” he said. “The factory will meet the demands of the country’s armed forces.”
The plant will be capable of producing 16 different formats of batteries and will support Iran’s efforts to put 400,000 electric motorcycles and scooters on its roads, as well as another 120,000 hybrid taxis. Iran’s auto industry is the 18th largest in the world, and its capital of Tehran suffers from serious air pollution due due to the topography of the area. Iran previously adopted a pro-CNG policy, but it seems ready to go all-on electric, at least in the popular two-wheeled market.
These light vehicles have gone largely unregulated in terms of emissions, and many older models with terrible emissions are still on the road. The government plans to offer a $6,000 manufacturer credit to help make these light EVs more affordable for the average person, which could give this major oil producer a huge leg up in the race to cleaner alternatives. By 2025, Iran wants to be a battery exporter, and just this year the Islamic Republic announced a major investment in solar power.
Could Iran one day host a Gigafactory of its own?