Electronic vehicles (EVs), or eVehicles, have been steadily growing in popularity across Europe, America and China for the last few years. More recently, the electronic vehicle market in Southeast Asia has also been showing signs of potential. There has been great interest in the EV market in Southeast Asia from big companies such as Nissan to startups like VinFast and even from the governments of many Southeast Asian countries.

Nissan’s investment in Southeast Asia

Nissan’s ASEAN branch has pledged billions of baht as an investment into Thailand. It aims to make Thailand its EV hub for the region and worldwide export.  The car giant expects that up to 250 million EV’s will be in use daily in the near future.  

However, change will take time. When interviewed, most Thai people said their reluctance to purchase an EV comes from the lack of infrastructure in residential areas. Despite this resistance, the country’s government aims to have EVs as 30% of all their vehicle production by 2030.  

According to a study by Frost & Sullivan, 37% of people surveyed in the region intend to buy an EV as their next vehicle.  Currently, the average buyer age of an EV is 37 years old; however, this number is likely to go down as more and more young people are showing an interest in purchasing them. 

VinFast, Vietnam’s EV manufacturer

Vietnam’s first vehicle manufacturer, VinFast, established in 2017,  quickly grew to dominate the domestic market. In 2021 they announced the launch of 3 smart EV’s; the VFe34, VFe35 and VFe36, two e-scooters, the Theon & Feliz, and an eBus. With the VFE35 and 36 on track for delivery in 2022, the startup’s rapid growth and ready acceptance across the globe shows great promise for the development of the eVehicle market across Southeast Asia. 

Singapore’s EV plans

The government of Singapore plans to provide 60,000 charging points for electric vehicles by 2030 with the goal of completely phasing out internal combustion vehicles by 2040. Called the ‘Green Plan’, it has seen very positive reactions from EV charge point providers. 

With the market expected to grow significantly, thanks to this push from the government, Singapore is well on track to accomplishing this goal. Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung has projected that by 2030 EV’s will account for approximately one-third of all cars in Singapore. Singapore’s National grid operator, SP Group, is eager to jump at the chance to supply the power and is planning to increase their production and installation of charging points to meet the expected demand in the coming years. 

However, there is one hurdle the government still needs to overcome to really get the ball rolling, and that is the initial cost of vehicles in Singapore. EV’s in Singapore are simply far too expensive when compared to their internal combustion equivalents. For reference, a Tesla Model 3 in China starts at around $39,000 USD, but in Singapore, the exact same car starts at $87,000 USD. If the Singaporean government can introduce some countermeasures to bring down the price of the cars,  its market will surely grow to exceed the projections of the Green Plan.

Why choose an EV?

Choosing an EV is not just buying another vehicle; it is choosing to reduce the environmental impact of driving. Sustainability is more important now than ever, especially after the world shut down for almost an entire year. Now is the perfect time for the globe to reconfigure and start again with a new plan in mind. Driving 100 kilometres in a Toyota Corolla burns approximately 8 litres of petrol which is roughly 19 kilograms of Carbon Dioxide. 

Admittedly, the electricity in the EV today may not be acquired from a green or renewable source, but even so, if you travel 100 kilometres in an EV. This requires roughly 20 kilowatts on average, which is the equivalent of 9 kilograms of carbon dioxide. And, as more countries switch to greener electricity sources, purchasing an electronic vehicle can quite literally help save the planet.

The EV market in Southeast Asia shows excellent promise. Thanks to the efforts of governments like Singapore with their Green plan, and investment from companies such as Nissan and VinFast, the e-vehicles market is almost certain to grow exponentially in the coming years.  

Many countries are pumping money into building the necessary infrastructure, and startups are developing products to support the electronic vehicle market in Southeast Asia.  Based on all trends, it is highly likely that come 2030, the roads of Southeast Asia will be populated mainly by EVs. More governments in the region need to take a similar stance as Singapores’ and invest in plans to improve the infrastructure, encourage a switch to greener power production and bring growth to their e-vehicles market.