National pledges to decrease greenhouse gas emissions were signed by a vast majority of countries as a part of the Paris Agreement. However, out of 184 pledges, only 36 are identified as efficient to decrease GHG emissions by 50% by 2030 under the 1.5C scenario proposed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (The Universal Ecological Fund 2019). Higher economic and institutional capacities to bear the costs of GHG reductions, as well as political feasibility, can all contribute to an actual willingness of a country to reduce more emissions than others or one-way round. Emission reductions are taking place in different sectors of the economy through a range of mechanisms. To achieve the goal of the Paris Agreement, emissions from the transportation sector should be cut by 90% by 2050 (Transport & Environment 2018). One of the climate change mitigation mechanisms in the transportation sector is the propulsion of zero-emission vehicles.

Electric mobility remains quite a polar, heterogeneously dispersed and developed, sometimes even a controversial topic around the globe, which shifts the transportation systems’ paradigms only in some, mainly developed countries. Being highly dependent on carbon intensity of electricity generation, it is considered to be undesirable, in some cases even deteriorative technology for developing economies’ environment.

By 2020, the majority of European countries have set their targets for achieving a certain percentage of electric vehicles in national fleets and introduced appropriate strategies, policies, and incentives to meet these targets. Moreover, at the European Union level, there is a range of directives pushing European countries towards the widespread usage of electric vehicles, alternative fuels (biofuels, hydrogen, electricity, etc.), and development of the appropriate infrastructure. However, within the EU, the level of success in e-mobility transitions varies significantly.

In developing countries, despite lower economic capacities, there are some EV market stimulation mechanisms and projects being implemented, most of them are aimed at the initial EV uptake and promotion if forms of pilot projects. In these cases, government initiative is usually supported by multilateral and bilateral aid institutions (e.g. World Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, etc.) or public- private partnerships due to the scarcity of private and public resources. Another significant role in funding such projects is possessed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which serves not only as a source of finances but as an indicator of financial safety and quality for other potential sponsors. The role of government is to set up an appropriate policy and regulatory environment for a project to be implemented with the least risks possible.

During the UN Climate Change Conference (COP25) in Madrid, the “Global Programme to Support Countries with the Shift to Electric Mobility” was announced, funded by GEF, UNEP, EBRD, ADB, and UNDP. The main goal of this project is to enable developing countries to implement their pilot e-mobility projects. Among seventeen developing countries participating in the project, there are two European countries – Ukraine and Armenia. While Ukraine has already implemented E-mobility policies and considered to be a regional leader of the project, Armenia is only at the initial stage of E-mobility development. Possessing a cleaner energy system even though located in between Russia and the Middle East, this country might be so far the most unique place where national E-mobility strategy will be introduced.

The aim of this work is to advance understanding of feasible e-mobility strategies in developing countries using Armenia as a case-study. The objectives are:

  • To review the experiences of e-mobility strategies and measures, their design, success and impact in different economies (particularly in transition countries);
  • To model EV adoption rates based on the e-mobility strategies reviewed;
  • To recommend economic and political measures for promoting a long-term
  • adoption of electric vehicles in Armenia.

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The work builds upon and contributes to a UNEP-GEF project which aims to support the establishment of E-mobility institutional and policy framework, as well as framing an EV pilot project in the Republic of Armenia. The “Transition towards E-mobility in Armenia” project provides an opportunity to collect relevant data and arrange stakeholder consultations. Results and findings of this paper will serve as a policy recommendation to the Armenian government.