Image courtesy of Wuling.

ASEAN Leaders Push For Cohesive Strategies For Vehicle Electrification, Charging Infrastructure

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ASEAN leaders announce their commitment to promoting the growth of the electric vehicle industry in the region, aiming to cater not only to the local market but also to the global market. This joint declaration was made on May 10th at the 42nd ASEAN Summit held in Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara, which ran from May 9-11.

Indonesia’s President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, concluding the ASEAN summit, stated that the declaration marked a significant milestone in the region’s economic cooperation. He recognized that the EV industry would play a vital role in the global supply chain, highlighting the importance of the downstream sector.

Wuling provided EVs at the Summit (Photo from ASEAN Press Office)

“ASEAN has agreed to build an electric car ecosystem and become an important part of the world supply chain. The downstream industry is key to realizing this,” Jokowi said at the press conference, following the conclusion of the EV part of the summit. Jokowi said that ASEAN leaders gave their support for the adoption of EVs.

Summit members said they would follow a strategy similar to what Indonesia and the Philippines have taken, electrifying public transportation, pushing for EV manufacturing and creating battery production hubs. Member states also expressed their dedication to improving the industry’s status, by creating a favorable business and investment environment to facilitate this development.

Compared to countries with more mature EV markets like China, EV usage in ASEAN is relatively low. Data from consultancy McKinsey and Company reveals that the combined adoption of EVs in Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia in 2021 was lower than Japan, where 1.2% of vehicles purchased were electric. China led the market with 16.1%, followed by South Korea and Australia.

To attract investment from EV companies, ASEAN member states have been actively seeking investments for the production of electric 2- and 4-wheeled vehicles. This includes securing investments in raw materials like nickel and cobalt, which are essential for EV manufacturing.

In addition, ASEAN aims to establish a unified standard for EVs that encompasses technology, safety standards, charging stations, battery swapping, and disposal, among other aspects. By standardizing these factors, ASEAN hopes to facilitate trade among member countries and ensure interoperability across borders.

The agreement also includes plans to involve micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the EV industry, enhance collaboration in human capital development, and raise public awareness about EVs.

Moreover, ASEAN member states intend to gradually phase out conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles in favor of EVs or similar technologies to reduce transportation emissions.

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Electrified Summit Transport

As part of the whole ASEAN Summit’s green-focused action plan, the vehicles used to transport heads of state and participants at the gathering were all electric.

Towards the end of April this year, the Indonesian Ministry of State Secretariat received 13 BMW iX units from PT BMW Indonesia. These vehicles will be used by the heads of ASEAN member states. Additionally, 117 Hyundai IONIQ 5 cars will serve as operational vehicles for ministers, protocol officials, and security officers during the summit. They will also function as safety cars. Public transport and general “go-around” vehicles were Wuling compact electric vehicles.

On April 13, Setya Utama, Secretary of the State Secretariat Ministry, confirmed Indonesia’s continuous efforts to promote green energy through the use of EVs in international-scale events.

“The utilization of electric cars in international gatherings aligns with the Indonesian government’s policy to bolster the electric car industry and promote the adoption of sustainable energy in the country,” Utama told CleanTechnica.

Battery Consortium

Simultaneous to the ASEAN Summit, in nearby Bali, six prominent associations from five ASEAN countries have signed an agreement to collaborate on EV battery technology development. These associations include the Singapore Battery Consortium (SBC), the Thailand Energy Storage Technology Association (TESTA), Nano Malaysia Berhad, the Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (EVAP), and two Indonesian entities: the National Center for Sustainable Transportation Technology (NCSTT) and the National Battery Research Institute (NBRI).

This cooperation agreement, signed at the ASEAN Battery and Electric Vehicle Technology Conference (ABEVTC) aims to establish standardization and ensure safety in EV battery technology.

“The ASEAN Summit coincides with the ABEVTC event because we would like to emphasize how countries in the region are now working together to establish a comprehensive EV ecosystem, covering all aspects from upstream to downstream. This includes developing the required infrastructure, especially charging stations, to support the widespread adoption of EVs,” Edi Prio Pambudi, the undersecretary of international economic cooperation at the Office of the Coordinating Economic Minister of Indonesia told CleanTechnica, and stressed that building an EV ecosystem encompassed more than just the cars themselves but also the charging stations and other supporting facilities, acknowledging the magnitude of the task that must be promptly addressed.


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Raymond Tribdino

Raymond Gregory Tribdino is the motoring & information technology editor of Malaya Business Insight (www.malaya.com.ph) in the Philippines. He has been covering automotive, transport, and IT since 1992. His passion for electric vehicles started with the failed electrification of a scooter in 1994. He wrote for EVWorld.com, one of the pioneer electric vehicle websites, in 1997. He was a college professor for 8 years at the Philippine Women’s University. He is also now a podcaster co-hosting for the Philippines' top-rated YouTube tech site “TechSabado” and the baby-boomer popular “Today is Tuesday.” He is a husband and father of five, a weekend mechanic and considers himself a handyman, an amateur ecologist, and environmentalist. He is back to trying to electrify motorcycles starting with a plug-in trail motorcycle.

Raymond Tribdino has 108 posts and counting. See all posts by Raymond Tribdino