Summit Pushes for Strong Electric Vehicles Plan in ASEAN

The ASEAN Center for Energy (ACE) and the Asian Federation of EV Associations (AFEVA) conducted a policy dialogue focusing on electric vehicles at the 10th Philippine EV Summit at the SMX Convention Center Mall of Asia in Pasay City on October 21, 2022.  The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) supported the policy dialogue as part of its new global program to promote the shift to electric mobility in low and middle-income countries worldwide.

The policy dialogue sought ways to accelerate the development of the EV market and industry among members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) by addressing issues affecting the states and the region.

Two major issues hampering progress were discussed—the absence of policies on two- and three-wheeled EVs, and the retrofitting or conversion of ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles to electric.

AFEVA president Edmund Araga underscored the important role two- and three-wheeled EVs have been playing to popularize e-mobility in the region. He pointed out that such vehicles provide the greatest potential for EV adoption and the opportunity to grow the EV industry in the region.

June Yeonju Jeong, Program Officer of the sustainable mobility unit of the UN Environment Programme, presented UNEP’s Global Electric Mobility Programme which supports more than 50 low-and-middle-income countries with the shift from fossil fuel to EVs. In the Philippines, a demonstration project on electric two- and three-wheeler for freight deliveries was implemented with the local government of Pasig City and the Philippine Postal Office as project recipients.

Septia Buntara Supendi, Manager for sustainable energy, renewable energy, energy efficiency, and conservation of ACE, presented the ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation (APAEC) Phase II: 2021- 2025, Programme Area No 4: Energy Efficiency & Conservation (EE&C). 

electric vehicles
AFEVA President Edmund Araga

The aim of this program would be to reduce energy intensity by 32% by 2025 and encourage EE&C efforts, especially in transport and industry. ACE sees potential collaboration with Afeva in EV integration in five key areas: Cooperation on the promotion of harmonized EV standards and technologies; networking within the region/member associations to promote joint ventures/collaboration of business entities; sharing of best practices and information about the industry; extending support and active participation in member associations’ initiatives and projects; facilitating student exchanges and university cooperation within the region.

Two sessions were allotted to discuss the two major issues. Joining the panel discussions were Supendi; Dr. Yossapong Laoonual and Krisda Utamote, honorary chair and president, respectively, of the EV Association of Thailand; Dato Dennis Chuah, president of the EV Association of Malaysia; and Araga.

The first session discussed the electric two- and three-wheeler situation in ASEAN with respect to market and policy. Dr. Manny Biona, executive director of the Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (EVAP) presented an overview of the state of play of such vehicles in ASEAN.  The panel discussed the need to craft a region-wide policy tackling technical regulations and standards.

The second session discussed the conversion of ICEs to electric. Utamote presented such challenges and opportunities in Thailand, which had earlier announced a national target to achieve 30% ZEV usage—around 225,000 units a year—by 2025.

With around 40 million registered vehicles in Thailand, Utamote said that the targeted vehicles for EV conversion were pick-up trucks and other vehicles older than 10 years—a total of over 4.5 million vehicles. He also revealed that the Thai government, via the state-run Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT), has been planning to develop EVs by modifying used cars. The government has also been pushing to require converted EVs to be registered.