Road to a Green Bangladesh








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Development of an EV financing tool and a scalable business model to accelerate the uptake of EVs in Bangladesh.

Recognising the intersection between environmental sustainability and social justice, this project aimed to reduce emissions from transport in Bangladesh. ‘Road to a Green Bangladesh’ wanted to increase uptake of electric vehicles (EVs) by developing an inclusive EV financing tool, enabling structural change, and enhancing stakeholder engagement, knowledge and capacity. 


The project supported micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with scalable business models – including a significant number run by women entrepreneurs – with tools and advice to enable the preparation of business cases for EV based projects. The team also worked with financial institutions (FI) to drive the investments that will allow businesses to substantially increase their use of EVs.  


This project was delivered by Ricardo Energy and Environment in partnership with Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL), LightCastle Partners, Policy Exchange Bangladesh and Hivos Energia

“I believe there is a massive opportunity in Bangladesh for EV solutions, and initiatives like this can further accelerate EV growth in Bangladesh.’’

Nafees Ur Rahman

Head of Business for Truck Lagbe



  • The transport sector is forecast to account for ~9% of the total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Bangladesh in 2030 (source: Updated Nationally Determined Contributions)
  • At the time of starting the project, the EV ecosystem in Bangladesh was emerging, with estimates of 1.2M EVs
  • There is significant potential to grow the country’s EV ecosystem by supporting businesses and MSMEs on the development of suitable business cases for the adoption, transition or scaling up of EVs. MSMEs demonstrate particularly high demand, but largely lack the capacity and resources to drive transport electrification
  • Barriers to wider EV rollout include the absence of legalisation for electric two- and three-wheelers, excessive import duties, and a lack of supporting infrastructure
  • The project sought to address these challenges whilst prioritising gender equality and social inclusion (GESI) in the transition to an equitable and sustainable net-zero future

MSMEs surveyed to assess current demand for EVs and barriers to increased uptake


MSMEs supported in developing business plans focusing on the adoption, transition, or scaling up their use of EVs


local FIs interviewed to understand available financial services and the MSME loan application process


stakeholder engagement platforms established - the “Financial Institution Working Group” and the “Business Engagement Forum”

Project achievements

To build an understanding of the sector, the project team carried out surveys and engagement studies with transport providers and EV ecosystem stakeholders. This highlighted that access to finance, affordability, unawareness of EVs, lack of standardisation of batteries and lack of stable and predictable regulatory frameworks are the key barriers – although EVs are considered an attractive transport substitution. Guided by these findings, financial tools customised for EV-related requirements of MSMEs were developed. 

The project team worked with MSMEs to build robust business models around EV use to demonstrate the economic and environmental benefits, and produced 10 MSME focused case studies with strong GESI considerations. The business models were presented to potential investors to generate interest among financiers.  

The project successfully established two engagement platforms: the Financial Institution Working Group (FIWG) and the Business Engagement Forum (BEF). These platforms assessed the identified business models supporting EV uptake, and engaged in discussions on specialist financing tools. 

A key output was a knowledge product to share evidence that supports a business-led EV uptake programme in Bangladesh – one that could deliver significant emissions reductions in the long-term. This included a financial viability assessment, comparing EVs with their conventional vehicle equivalents. 

The results showed that under current circumstances, further work is needed to create demand and understanding of the benefits of EVs. The findings were presented and discussed with the Government of Bangladesh, development partners and private sector actors, ensuring the lessons generated are fed into future funding and policy decisions in the sector.  


cohorts of women entrepreneurs (from urban and rural areas) trained on accounting and book-keeping


women entrepreneurs supported in accessing professional networks and financing institutions


case studies of MSMEs catering specifically to women customers, including women-run enterprises and enterprises


women-focused business models presented to FIs in the final event

GESI highlights

To address some of the barriers that women entrepreneurs (WEs) in Bangladesh face, the project held training and knowledge sharing for a group of rural and urban WEs, targeted to their specific needs:  

  • The rural WEs already had strong links to micro-credit institutions and had purchased EVs – operated by their husbands – with a partial loan. They were introduced to an accounting procedure to estimate net profits/losses, book keeping, and a savings method for replacement batteries  
  • The urban WEs received training to support their need for business growth, including  business plan development, accounts and book keeping, access to finance, and digital marketing  

The project linked these WEs with professional networks to share knowledge – these are expected to continue beyond the project. Discussions were also facilitated with financial instititions to raise awareness on the challenges of accessing finance. The project identified that larger, institutional financing bodies remain less accessible to WEs. Some common challenges are not knowing the documentation required for applying, not being aware of available options, and being ineligible for finance due to titles of properties or rental agreements (that can be used as collateral or identification) not being in their name.  


Forward look

Overall, EVs are gaining momentum in Bangladesh, paving the way for a wider rollout in the near future. This may contribute to increased business opportunities, poverty reduction, GESI, and environmental sustainability. The introduction of women entrepreneurs to formal accounting practices and financing options dedicated to MSMEs is expected to result in better business growth in the long term.   

The project highlighted several key recommendations for future development of the sector: 

  • Strengthening the enabling environment, setting time-count targets, and incentivising the uptake of EVs through initiatives 
  • Supporting the private sector to set up charging station networks in major cities  
  • Enhancing access to credit to support women-owned businesses, who struggle to grow due to the lack of larger financing opportunities 

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