Opportunities for Growth in ASEAN’s Electric Vehicle Ecosystem

ASEAN is rapidly urbanising. 47% of its population now live in cities, and by 2030, another 90 million people will be city-dwellers. Urbanisation leads to energy-intensive lifestyles, causing higher carbon emissions. Evidently, urban areas have accounted for 70% of global carbon emissions. Rapidly increasing emissions from urbanisation contributes greatly to climate change, posing a major challenge to sustainable development. The vulnerability to and impact of climate change is a major concern to ASEAN countries. A study carried out by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) revealed that the mean temperature in the region increased by 0.1-0.3 degree Celsius per decade between 1951 and 2000; rainfall trended downward from 1960 to 2000, and sea levels have risen 1-3 millimetres per year. Heat waves, droughts, floods, and tropical cyclones have also become more intense and frequent. 

The ASEAN countries have taken actions to address climate change through various environmental, economic and social activities over the years. One direct way of achieving environmental sustainability will be with the use of smart energy that utilises digital technologies to improve energy efficiency.

Another important aspect will be in reducing carbon emissions by altering modes of transportation to those that emit less greenhouse gases. The transport sector accounts for a significant portion of emissions. In Indonesia, for example, the sector accounts for nearly 30% of emissions. Electric Vehicles (EVs) emit three times less greenhouse gases than equivalent petrol or diesel vehicles. This provides a strong reason for countries to push for the massive expansion of the EV fleet, to help curb carbon emissions in the country. 

The Evolution of Automotive Production in ASEAN

The automotive industry has seen a major shift in terms of the most dominant players. In the mid 20th century, the largest player included the USA with their production levels far greater than all the countries combined. It was only until the 1960s when vehicles sold in most of the ASEAN countries were exported exclusively from western manufacturers. After that, Japanese manufacturers such as Toyota entered the automotive market, opening assembly plants for Completely Knocked Down (CKD) vehicles. During the 1970s, as the ASEAN countries began to adopt policies that favoured localisation, attracting manufacturers to set up assembly plants in ASEAN. 

By 2019, ASEAN as a bloc ranks 7th and accounts for 4.5% of global automotive production. With a strong presence of automotive clusters in these countries, electric vehicle (EV) production is the evolutionary step in the region’s automotive landscape. The production and utilisation of EVs serves multiple purposes such as achieving environmental sustainability, scaling up of the industry towards industry 4.0 standards and driving economic growth

Indonesia’s EV Ambitions

The transport sector accounts for 30% of emissions in Indonesia and there have been significant efforts to reduce emissions from this sector. In 2019 the Ministry of National Development Planning (BAPPENAS) released its low-carbon development plan, containing long-term (2045) emission pathways. The Ministry of Industry, Indonesia aims to have 400,000 units of electric cars in 2025 and 5.7 million units in 2035. Several regulations have also been formulated by the government with regards to EV planning and Development.

 “Indonesia can have more opportunities to become a big player in electric vehicles”

– Febrio Kacaribu, Head of fiscal policy at the Finance Ministry, Indonesia

Indonesia holds the world’s largest reserves of nickel-laterite ore, with an astounding  23% of the world’s total supply being located in the country. This coupled with the nation-wide drive towards becoming a global hub for EV production have caused them to exhibit strong capabilities in this sector. Tapping upon this resource becomes a crucial aspect of growing the local EV battery industry. Hence, this has motivated the government to embrace a national strategy that will boost battery manufacturing.

“We know that 60 percent of the key [materials needed to] to [manufacture] electric cars is the batteries and we have the components to make them. So, this country is a strategic place [for businesses] to start designing an affordable and competitive electric car industry.”

– Joko Widodo, President of Indonesia

“Making Indonesia 4.0” initiative – created in an effort to revitalize Indonesian manufacturing and transform the industry into a powerhouse for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Indonesia is also the leading country in the region for EV and mobility services. Indonesia has been able to attract and leverage FDI to develop a strong automotive ecosystem.

Indonesian Enterprises Respond to the Call

Enterprises in Indonesia are responding to the call to build the EV ecosystem within the country, from making EVs more widely available to increasing access to charging stations. For example, Taxi provider Blue Bird and ride-hailing companies Gojek and Grab have all taken steps to roll out EV with trial runs as well as partnerships with EV manufacturers to provide electric motorbikes and cars for their drivers. 

Additionally, PLN, Indonesia’s state electricity company has also launched the Charge.IN application to facilitate charging of battery-based motor vehicles. With this application, drivers can control and monitor the charging of cars or electric motors at charging stations, greatly increasing the convenience of finding EV charging points.

Thailand 4.0 with an EV Boost

Thailand is another ASEAN Country looking to grow its EV ecosystem. Thailand is putting in place an EV Action Plan, with goals to produce 1.051 million EVs by 2025, before jumping up to 6.22 million by 2030. In addition, Thailand will only sell all-electric cars after 2035 in a bold zero-emission plans. This is intended to integrate with other policies, most notably Thailand 4.0, an economic model aimed at creating an innovative, value-based industry, also aims to boost the Next-generation automotive sector.

Growing Thailand’s EV Ecosystem 

According to the Electric Vehicle Association of Thailand (EVAT), Thailand has a total of 647 charging stations, led by private sector companies. Energy Absolute has 405 stations, followed by other state-owned enterprise (SOE) operators, like PTT, a Thai state-owned SET-listed oil and gas company, Provincial Electricity Authority of Thailand and the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand. The target number for EV charging stations is 690 by 2036.

PTT has also entered a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Foxconn, a Taiwanese multinational electronics to set up an open platform for producing EVs and key components. This platform, comprising hardware and software services, will be available to all automobile players in Thailand looking to accelerate their production and sales of EVs in the ASEAN region. The effort uniquely combines PTT’s strengths in Thailand’s market knowledge, distribution network, extensive customer reach and a commitment to future-oriented, innovative and sustainable solutions with Foxconn’s proven capabilities as a global leader in smart manufacturing and its visionary push in leading electric car technological solutions.

Global automotive companies are continuing to invest in Thailand. For example Nissan has invested heavily in plans to make the country a hub for electric vehicle manufacturing. The Japanese manufacturer is also developing technology that allows electric cars to run without needing to plug in to a charging station. 

The EV Ecosystem in Indonesia and Thailand will be a key topic of discussion in our AIBP Conference and Exhibition 2022 as we delve deeper into how enterprises in Indonesia and Thailand are leading the way in building their country’s EV Ecosystem

Be part of our Discussions:

  • 1st & 2nd November, Ritz Carlton Mega Kuningan, Jakarta, Indonesia
  • 29th & 30th November, Conrad Bangkok, Bangkok, Thailand

Speakers include:

  • Zainal Arifin, EVP Engineering & Technology, PLN
  • Stephanus Widi, Head of EV Business, Grab Indonesia
  • Ronny W Sugiadha, Chief Strategy & Transformation, Bluebird Group
  • Rawee Boonsinsukh, Executive Vice President, Bangchak Corporation Public Company Limited
  • Tidarat Madtharad, Manager of Strategy & New Business Development Division, Provincial Electric Authority of Thailand


22 September 2022