Laos has launched a new electric vehicle project, joining its neighbors in Southeast Asia where the growth of the EV market is set to boom.
Electricite du Laos (EDL) and Vientiane-based EV Lao Company have teamed up for the project, which is designed to compare operating costs between electric vehicles and those running on fossil fuels, as well as safety measures, and to ascertain the quality of the vehicles.
The collaborators are to install test charging stations at EDL, EV Lao headquarters, and the Ministry of Energy and Mines, Vientiane Times reported last week. They hope to install 20 stations in Vientiane this year with a view to begin imports of electric vehicles next year.
When the project is underway, priority locations for electric vehicle charging stations will include Wattay International Airport, bus stations, the first Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge and various government buildings.
Vientiane Times quoted Thongchanh Santhasith, Deputy Managing Director at EV Lao, as saying that the two parties are also discussing special pricing for electricity at charging stations as well as tax benefits and other incentives to encourage the use of EVs.
Regional Electric Vehicle Boom
Laos is not alone. Many countries in Southeast Asia are stepping up their efforts to take advantage of the trend as the region is gradually becoming home of the next growth wave for EVs.
According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, production lines in Southeast Asia are now turning out over 4 million vehicles per year, and it is estimated that vehicle ownership across the region will grow by more than 40 percent by 2040.
Meanwhile, a recent report by Bain & Company estimated that ASEAN’s annual new investment in passenger EVs will grow to USD 6 billion by 2030 and will require another USD 500 million in new charging infrastructure as service providers support electrification needs.
Thailand is leading the trend with an ambition to become a hub for EV by pursuing “Thailand 4.0,” a policy to upgrade the nation’s industries, and next-generation automobiles.
It is currently investing about THB 43 million (USD 1.4 million) to set up to the charging-station infrastructure while planning to incentivize manufacturers and consumers with non-tax privileges and deductions.
Malaysia has set a target of 70% penetration of energy-efficient vehicles on the market, looking to introduce more than 100,000 electric cars, 2,000 electric buses, and 125,000 charging stations across the country by 2030.
Indonesia, meanwhile, is also gearing up to increase EV penetration of as much as 2.1 million units of 2-wheeler electric vehicles and 2,200 4-wheeled vehicles by 2025.
Japanese electric vehicle cable manufacturer, Bando Densen, has opened a factory in Savannakhet Province and will produce many of the cables used in electric vehicles around the world.