Electric cars (EVs) are taking the world by storm – an electric storm. In 2020, according to the International Energy Agency, there were more than 10 million electric cars on the roads – a 43 percent increase over 2019. Quite notably, during a period when overall new car registrations fell because the pemic, global electric car sales share rose 70 percent to a record 4.6 percent all car sales in 2020.
Electric mopeds are also seeing dramatic rises in sales, especially in countries like Cambodia, where the can rent two-wheeler EV ride-shares at selected places in Phnom Penh. For example, Oyika’s Go2 app allows users to rent electric scooters leave them on the street for the next person to pick up. An electric tuktuk will soon be plying the streets Phnom Penh electric buses will people around Siem Reap.
A small but increasing number EV four-wheelers are already on Cambodian roads. Several companies have opened showrooms in the capital, introducing more than 10 types EV cars. The two-wheeler market has about nine two-wheeler EV suppliers, there is one that provide three-wheelers.
There are many reasons for the rapid rise in EV sales, both in Cambodia worldwide. The cost battery technologies has sharply declined over the past few years, therefore the cost EVs. The emergence batteries with increased energy density, increased cycles charging discharging, lower charge losses has directly led to an increase in the lifespan reliability EVs – thus prompting more confidence among consumers. By 2025, it is expected that the price a two-wheeler EV will be the same as a traditional motorcycle with a similar performance.
Another factor that may have led to the rapid rise in EV sales around the world is the capping subsidies. In both Europe China, no subsidies were provided for s with prices above a certain threshold. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), this may have caused the average electric car price to fall in these two regions: battery electric s (BEVs) sold in China were 3 percent cheaper in 2020 than in 2019, while plug-in hybrid electric s (PHEVs) in Europe were 8 percent cheaper.
Electric s are considered the technical solution choice to meet stringent emission stards in many countries. At the November COP26 summit in Glasgow a group governments, automakers others signed on to an agreement to transition to 100 percent zero-emission sales new cars vans by 2040 globally by 2035 in “leading markets.” Fifteen countries agreed in a separate pledge to work toward 100 percent zero-emission sales EV s buses by 2040. Cambodia is yet to follow suit.
It is worth noting that EVs are only as sustainable as the source the electricity from which they are charged. Emissions are obviously zero if charged with electricity from renewables, but not so if they are charged from the electricity grid. A recent study from the International Council for Clean ation (ICCT) confirmed that electric cars are still cleaner than internal combustion engines over their lifecycles even when charged from the dirtiest electricity grids. They also have health environmental benefits through reduced air pollution that would result in health benefits. Moreover, the operating cost an EV over one kilometre is almost half to that traditional internal combustion engine .
Laying the groundwork for an EV transformation in Cambodia
For good reason, the Government Cambodia has included EVs in the country’s national policy – with a focus on cities. With rapid urbanization, cities fer the perfect environment for EVs: paved roads, dependable sources electricity increasingly available charging stations. Cambodia’s Long-Term Strategy for Carbon Neutrality, submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) last December, incorporates a commitment to having 40 percent EV cars urban buses 70 percent electric motorbikes by 2050.
As a first step in that direction, Cambodia reduced im duties on electric s in 2021 to about 50% lower than taxes on traditional internal combustion engine s. This is providing an incentive for people to shift towards electric s.
The Government is further encouraging investments in EV assembling plants in Cambodia. This move has the potential to create more green jobs investments help position Cambodia in the emerging global regional supply chains for EVs.
One the primary inhibitors widespread EV adoption worldwide has been the inadequate charging infrastructure. Exping charging stations across the country could be one the key drivers towards large scale adoption EVs. However, more EVs are needed to provide market incentives for companies to invest in more charging stations – a classic chicken--egg scenario. Knowing this, the is encouraging fuel station operators in the country to install EV charging stations at selected locations. It is further developing licensing requirements for those who would like to establish independent charging stations.
UNDP, the European Union, the Government Sweden are working through the Cambodia Climate Change Alliance to sup the country in developing a roadmap for upscaling exping its EV infrastructure. The Alliance is also suping the to develop the necessary regulatory framework to encourage the adoption electric motorbikes incentivize the private sector to make better use them – for example, as delivery s.
With rising gas prices due to geopolitical tensions, the time to rethink sustainable ation mobility is now. While Cambodia is making significant impressive strides to encourage the widespread adoption electric s, a wide range reforms may be needed before the EV market can reach maturity. A comprehensive study is needed to determine the EV market’s growth potential with priorities for short, mum, long-term measures. Areas to be considered could include:
Assessing the impact charging increasing numbers EVs will have on the current grid;
Developing sustainable sources energy for charging EVs;
Determining the environmental impacts discarding used EV batteries, with regulations governing their safe disposal;
Introducing stards regulations to ensure products provide the best experience safety for Cambodian consumers;
Introducing age limit for im used s, s used in the country to eliminate inefficient s from fleet address road safety concerns;
Developing required skills in the local workforce to maintain the entire value chain EVs, especially so that Cambodian youth can access the new generation jobs;
Engaging the private sector to build the EV infrastructure putting in place well-designed private partnerships to finance operate it.
As Cambodia diversifies its economy prepares to graduate from its Least Developed Country status, developing a more sustainable infrastructure will be key to its success. The coming years will be exciting ones to shape the ation sector the 21st century in line with the Kingdom’s sustainable development objectives. We look forward to working with all interested partners in the , private non-prit sectors to maximize the economic, environmental, social benefits ensuring sustainable ation for all.
H.E. , Senior Minister
Ms. Alissar Chaker, Resident Representative, UNDP Cambodia