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E-Vehicle Push in Asia-Pacific

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011
e-vehicle

When Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao pledged his country’s commitment to save energy and clean up the environment, he not only expressed China’s commitment to respond actively to impacts caused by climate change but the whole AsiaPacific region’s commitment as well.

Spearheaded by China’s goal to reduce carbon emissions by 40 percent by the year 2020, most developing countries in the region have also expressed their role in saving energy and reducing harmful emissions.

In a bold move, many Asian economies have aggressively made headway into the adoption and mass utilization of various kinds of e-vehicles. Many of these countries have tapped both foreign and local developers and manufacturers to build e-vehicles that are unique to the country’s transportation culture. Such strategies are effective in facilitating faster assimilation of e-vehicles into mainstream usage, and with government support could provide a significant impact in reducing the pollution caused by conventional transport systems and reduce these countries’ dependency on petroleum products.

Updates on E-Vehicle Adoption and Use in Asian Countries

The following describes current inroads made in various countries in the Asia-Pacific region with their adoption and use of e-vehicles as a clean alternative for conventional transportation.

Philippines – As one of the most oil-dependent countries in Asia, the Philippines is taking steps to address this ever-growing dependence on fossil fuels as more households, factories and transportation increase in number. Working with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Electric Vehicle Alliance of the Philippines (EVAP), and the Congressional Commission on Science and Technology and Engineering (COMSTE), they have collaborated in the deployment of 20,000 electric tricycle units in various locations across the country. This is part of the bigger move by industry players and government agencies to further develop the evehicle industry in the country with the development of green transport systems that will include the electric tricycle, hybrid jeepneys, electric buses and electric bicycles.

Singapore – The preferred green vehicles in this country include the hybrids and the Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) vehicles. According to the Singapore Land Transport Authority (LTA), there are more than 2,462 hybrids, 4,473 bi-fuel CNGs and 26 pure CNGs registered in the country. To further improve the number of green vehicle adoption, the country has implemented the Green Vehicle Rebate (GVR) scheme which will provide buyers with a 40 percent rebate based on the vehicle’s open market value. Further development of e-vehicles is also being pursued and spearheaded by a government multi-agency taskforce headed by the Energy Market Authority (EMA) and the LTA, with car manufacturer Renault-Nissan signing up and participating in this program to provide e-vehicles to the public.

Thailand – Just like any other country in Asia, Thailand is also faced with the problems brought about by rising oil prices, compounded by the resulting pollution from petroleumbased fuels. The government initiated its own e-vehicle policy called E-Co Car, with electric vehicles limited to sizes ranging between 1.32 meters wide and 3.6 meters long. At the forefront of this development is Thailand’s Clean Fuel Energy Enterprise Co. Ltd., a company developing and researching equipment and weaponry for the Royal Thai Air Force. The company has now produced several electric powered vehicles powered with batteries which are currently being used in large industrial estates, hotels, resorts, golf courses and other tourists areas vital to the country’s economy.

India – The Indian government has recognized the importance of promoting electric vehicles and has mobilized the National Council for Electric Mobility (NCEM) and the National Board for Electric Mobility (NBEM). These agencies will spearhead the development and promotion of hybrid and electric vehicles to reduce the country’s dependency on fossil fuels, 75 percent of which are currently coming from foreign resources. Many car manufacturers in India will heed this call and produce their own electric vehicle versions, with the Reva Electric Car Company taking the pioneering lead. The take-off of electric vehicles in Asia has been delayed in the past due to lack of infrastructure and affordable electric vehicle models. However, the growing need for energy dependency brought about by rising oil prices and the alarming effects of global warming has prompted governments to pursue the adoption of electric vehicles – towards a cleaner and better environment for the future.

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