Asia Pacific countries prove the need for tailored e-mobility solutions

Countries around the world are making strides in electric vehicle adoption, and the Asia Pacific region is no different with several countries already experiencing, or poised for, excellent growth.

Countries around the world are making strides in electric vehicle adoption as emission-free vehicles continue to be recognised as a key pillar to sustainability progress. In the Asia Pacific region, several countries are already experiencing, or are poised for, excellent growth – and the key every time is the tailored approach they take to their electric vehicle priorities. Electric vehicle adoption is a matter of trade-offs, particularly in the introductory stages, and getting those trade-offs ‘right’ for each country, through tailoring, is vital.

Singapore’s diversity strategy

Take the example of Singapore as a country leading the way in diverse electric vehicle infrastructure adoption. The island context is ripe for public transport, doesn’t face crushing density issues and has a generally higher income per capita than some of its Asia Pacific counterparts. As a result, a key area of focus has been ebus charging infrastructure to propel its epublic transport.

ABB proudly delivered charging infrastructure to support 40 single-deck electric buses– an initiative led by Singapore Land Transport Authority (LTA). The infrastructure uses a modular design so that LTA can scale-up in the future. With remote service and data management capability, the efficiency value from an operations perspective matches the efficiency from an environmental perspective. Using the OppCharge opportunity charging platform, one fleet of those ebuses are recharging in less than 10 minutes at key interchanges via an automated rooftop connection. Using 150kW overnight charging systems, another fleet is being powered for daytime operations using sequential charging technology for full charging overnight.

However, it doesn’t end there for Singapore. In addition to electric vehicles and other commercial light vehicles, Singapore is getting ready to deploy automated guided vehicles (AGVs) at a key port terminal later in 2020, featuring integrated 450kW high-powered smart charging points from ABB set within innovative container solutions. I’ll share more on the initiative in a future blog. The port is a true next generation container terminal – expected to be the largest port in the world by 2040.

Japan’s high-tech strategy

Where Singapore has gone from low adoption just two years ago to an incredible pace of change, Japan is an example of a regional leader that was an early adopter and is now facing its next evolution. The country is through and through when it comes to electric vehicle infrastructure. Where they started on 50kW chargers, the country is now working with ABB and others to bring its technology to the next level, including high-power charging stations. Home to numerous world-leading car manufacturers, the country is resetting itself for a new growth phase, leveraging that home-based vehicle technology capability alongside industry partnerships.

Vietnam’s nimble private sector strategy

Vietnam’s approach to e-mobility is led by its Vietnam Green Growth Strategy in the foreground – but in the background it also has the advantage of a nimble private sector. In particular, Vingroup is a major player, planning to manufacture some 3,000 electric busses each year alone. As a company, they have the ability to make decisions and run with them quickly. They partner with other vehicle brands and, with that fast-moving capability, are rapidly localising international vehicles.

Vietnam is an interesting case study in infrastructure set-up due to the country’s geography and how that impacts range and infrastructure placement in relation to the grid. However, their continued engagement between the government and private sector is promising. With Vingroup looking to export its technologies to major markets like the US, the country is showing no signs of stopping.

Indonesia’s environmental strategy

Several other countries could easily be highlighted. Here, I’ll wrap up with Indonesia, which is another interesting country to consider in areas such as manufacturing. However, the key point of leadership that is propelling the electric vehicle market is the recent Presidential Regulation outlining the government’s support for the electric vehicle industry. With annual car sales of around one million units, the government has set targets for electric vehicles to comprise at least 20% of total domestic vehicle sales by 2025. It’s a key move to help reduce the country’s reliance on imported fossil fuels and maximise the country’s abundant nickel reserves – a key material in lithium-ion batteries. It is an easy government message in many ways due to the high incentive to reverse the damaging effects of pollution. Combining the social driver of environmentally friendly transport, with a core national competence in resources, is a perfect fit for the country, as the government also focuses on Indonesia becoming a major producer of electric vehicles.

In each case, country leadership is strongly influenced by an approach that first considers the unique needs and culture of that country before setting a path forward – and we see that delivering the greatest advances specifically because outcomes are closely tied to local value.


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About the author

Kumail Rashid

Kumail is the E-mobility Division Lead for ABB in Asia Pacific, based in Singapore. Having joined ABB in 2008, Kumail has held numerous senior roles across engineering, sales and regional business development. For the last six years, he has been instrumental in supporting the development of the Electric Vehicle (EV) industry in New Zealand and Singapore, working alongside government and industry organizations to set the direction in EV strategy and policy.
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