Can Indonesia Achieve Its Electric Vehicle Ambitions?

Indonesia's EV shift requires a mindset shift

A Hyundai electric car being charged at the PLN charging station in Jakarta, Indonesia

Credit: Depositphotos

Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world, and most of this population is concentrated in its large cities. Only Jakarta, Medan, Surabaya and Bandung host 17 million people. This number could increase by millions during working hours, due to the rush of commuters traveling from the outlying areas in search of work. With a daily amount of more 4 million cars and 21.7 million motorcycles On the road, these cities are notorious for their traffic congestion. It is common for daily commutes to work to take several hours, leading to frustration, wasted time, and reduced productivity for commuters.

Such heavy mobility not only causes inconvenience, but also contributes to the high volume of greenhouse gas emissions. The transport sector in Jakarta emits a staggering 182.5 million tons of CO2 per yearmaking it one of the most polluted capitals in the world.

The Indonesian government has recognized this problem and is currently taking steps to accelerate the switch to electric vehicles (EVs). He hopes that by reducing the number of fossil fuel powered vehicles on the roads, emissions will gradually decrease and air quality in these cities will improve. To meet this goal, the government has boosted its EV transition program, named the state-owned power company PLN as thmy market leader in the electric vehicle charging industry, and last week Announced an incentive plan for the purchase of electric vehicles.

This campaign has worked up to a point. Vehicles with a blue line below the license plate are seen more frequently than at the beginning of the decade. As of November 2022, more than 7,600 electric cars and 25,700 electric motorcycles were humming quietly through the streets of Indonesia, more than five times the number in 2021.

PLN has projected that if Indonesia follows the EV roadmap as planned, there will be 16,000 electric cars on the roads by 2025, jumping to 600,000 by 2030. This significant increase in electric vehicles on the road indicates that people are beginning to see that there are many benefits to making the switch, from environmental advantages to the low long-term cost of operating an electric vehicle, not to mention the fact that owning a vehicle Electricity is associated with higher social prestige among the Indonesian upper class.

Do you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe for full access. Just $5 a month.

However, the government’s efforts to develop an integrated EV infrastructure in Indonesia are still in the early stages. The slow development of battery sharing and charging station networks has made people hesitant to own their own personal electric vehicles. In addition to the high cost of acquisition, the limited number of charging stations makes it difficult for EV owners to find a place to park their vehicles, particularly residents of high-rise apartment buildings or white-collar workers whose homes or offices lack charging facilities. This is a significant challenge, as the lack of a reliable network of charging stations will hamper the EV adoption program and the promised benefits of the switch will not be visible.

The EV switch program is also not well thought out in terms of the broader transportation context. Since it does not incorporate a plan to reduce the total number of cars on the roads, the government’s goal of increasing the use of electric vehicles will only cause more congestion.

Perhaps the solution to reducing emissions from the transport sector is the old-fashioned and less sophisticated chorus that people in Indonesia’s overcrowded cities have sung for decades: “provide better public transport services”. The government should focus on developing a public transport system and inject more incentives into public transport to accommodate all passengers in its main urban areas. This would have a more significant impact on reducing emissions and alleviating traffic congestion.

The government should also first encourage the use of electric vehicles in the public transport system. For example, buses and taxis could be replaced with electric models, further reducing emissions and improving air quality. Around 30 electric buses are currently registered by TransJakarta – a state transport company that plans to add 270 more to its fleet in 2023. This initiation should be implemented on a national scale. The government could also invest in developing charging stations specifically for public transport vehicles, making it easier for these vehicles to run fully electric.

The longer-term solution would be to empower and improve the livelihoods of satellite areas surrounding metropolitan cities to reduce the number of people commuting to big cities. By improving the economy and infrastructure of the satellite areas, people will be encouraged to live and work there, thus reducing the need to travel long distances to Jakarta or Surabaya. Also, the government should focus on transit-oriented urban development that can efficiently transport people from one place to another.

In conclusion, while the government’s plan to incentivize EV switching is a step in the right direction, it is essential to focus first on developing a strong public transport system and boosting satellite areas. By reducing reliance on private vehicles and encouraging the use of public transportation, greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced and traffic congestion alleviated. This, in turn, will create a smoother transition towards an integrated EV ecosystem, making Indonesia a cleaner and more sustainable place to live.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.