Incentives to Boost Electric Vehicle Adoption

5 April 2023 – Electric vehicle subsidies have recently become an interesting topic on social media.  Some consider this policy as a mismatch, but others argue that electric vehicles will help the energy transition process.  In the Ruang Publik KBR event which was held online on March 20 2023, Ilham R.F.  Surya, IESR Environmental Policy Researcher, explained that giving electric vehicle incentives would be useful in stimulating electric vehicle adoption.  In addition, the government also needs to implement an Avoid-Shift-Improve (ASI) strategy to reduce emissions in the transportation sector.

According to Ilham, the use of the Avoid-Shift-Improve (ASI) paradigm will help reduce carbon emissions, especially for the transportation sector as one of the biggest emitters.

“If possible, avoid it first, such as reducing unnecessary trips.  If not, do the shift by using public transportation.  The final option is to improve or use environmentally friendly technology,” Ilham explained.

Furthermore, he explained that electric vehicles are set to meet the needs of environmentally friendly technologies.  In terms of emissions and pollutants, electric vehicles are much lower than fuel vehicles, even when the electricity source is not optimal or they still use coal.  According to him, using electric vehicles is a small act that can be done individually to reduce carbon emissions, apart from using energy wisely.  Moreover, the energy sector is now the largest contributor to emissions in Indonesia, which is around 26%.

Regarding Indonesia’s readiness to adopt electric vehicles, Ilham stated that all parties were still waiting for each other to show readiness before taking further steps in developing electric vehicles.  What will have the most impact, however, is the installation of Public Electric Vehicle Charging Stations (SPKLU) or charging units, which will be 3-4 times more effective in increasing electric vehicle adoption due to reduced range anxiety.  In addition, electric vehicles have so far provided several innovations in technology, and in terms of safety, they are also following vehicle standards in general.

One of the efforts to increase the adoption of electric vehicles by the government is to provide incentives because there is still a gap between the prices of electric vehicles and fuel vehicles.  Regarding the recipients of the incentives themselves, Ilham stated that the purchasing power of Indonesian people is still limited to electric motorcycle consumers, while electric cars are more affordable for 1% of the population.  So, to increase adoption, incentives are better suited to be given to electric motorbike consumers.

“Before this incentive was implemented, it would be nice if the requirements for the Domestic Component Level (TKDN) were mandatory for incentives, because, by increasing adoption, it would simultaneously employ domestic workers,” Ilham explained.

Ilham also assessed that electric vehicles can help with accessibility in remote areas.  However, the challenge that arises is electricity which often experiences rotating blackouts in the regions.  Another challenge to electric vehicle adoption includes the price, not only the price of the vehicle but also the infrastructure.  Apart from that, there is also range anxiety because the infrastructure is inadequate.

In the future, Ilham believes that as technology improves, the price of electric vehicles will decrease.  The amount of decline per year is around 9%, so by 2030, it is expected to be equivalent to the price of a gasoline car.  In addition, with the increasing adoption of electric vehicles, it is expected that Indonesia’s dependence on fuel, which until now has been subsidized, will decrease.  By reducing emissions and pollution, coupled with reducing fuel consumption, of course the energy transition will develop more rapidly.

“But of course, the decision to buy an electric vehicle still depends on the buyer.  Look at the needs and supporting infrastructure, and don’t depend on the fear of missing out (FOMO).  For now, of course, give incentives to those who need it more,” Ilham concluded.

Projections of electric vehicles in 2023 are summarized in the Indonesia Electric Vehicle Outlook 2023.

IEVO 2023: Building Indonesia’s Electric Vehicle Ecosystem

Jakarta, 21 February 2023 – Decarbonization of the transportation sector is a crucial strategy in climate change mitigation to prevent the earth’s temperature from rising beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius. In Indonesia, besides the use of biofuels, vehicle electrification can cut 23% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the transportation sector.

The Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR) views the development of an electric vehicle ecosystem as an absolute to increase public interest in adopting electric vehicles, accelerate infrastructure distribution and develop the domestic electric vehicle industry.

The IESR in the 2023 Indonesia Electric Vehicle Outlook (IEVO) report notes that dependence on imported fuel has triggered inflation at the end of 2022 due to increasing subsidized fuel prices. Fuel consumption increased by an average of 1.2 million kiloliters per year between 2015 and 2020.

“The increase of fuel imports has eroded foreign exchange, weakened the exchange rate and forced the government to adjust fuel prices, which has an impact on inflation. As fuel price adjustments are politically unpopular and have an impact on people’s purchasing power, the government usually makes this a last alternative to cover the difference between the selling price and the cost of procuring fuel. Subsidies provided by the government deteriorate the fiscal capacity of the state budget. These could have been avoided if fuel imports were cut drastically by increasing the use of electric vehicles and substituting Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles,” said IESR Executive Director, Fabby Tumiwa.

Compared to ICE vehicles, electric vehicles are better at reducing emissions and having lower operating costs. IESR analysis shows that electric vehicles emit 7% less GHG emissions, and their operating cost per km is 14% lower than ICE vehicles. However, due to the limited availability of electric vehicle models, minimal infrastructure, and high initial investment, people are reluctant to switch to electric vehicles. 

“The government needs to look at the supply aspect of the Battery-Based Electric Motorized Vehicle industry and not just the demand. The tax deduction incentive for electric cars and IDR7 million for electric motorbikes is suitable. However, the eligibility of any car/motorcycle brand as the recipient of the incentives must be considered. The provision of this incentive must be linked to the development of the Local Content Requirements (LCR). Only brands with certain LCR may receive this incentive,” said Ilham R F Surya, Environmental Policy Researcher, IESR, who is also one of the authors of IEVO 2023

Furthermore, Ilham also said that electric two-wheelers (E2W) vehicle conversion could be an alternative to electrification at a lower price. Moreover, E2W is also a means of rejuvenating older motorbikes.

The government’s efforts to meet the GHG emission reduction target in the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) through a total of 15 million electric vehicles in 2030 can be seen from the availability of fiscal and non-fiscal policies. However, its fiscal policy is still focused on the demand side. Opportunities for the adoption of massive logistics ride-hailing drivers are expected to trigger the development of the electric vehicle industry in Indonesia.

“Currently, the electric vehicle industry from upstream to midstream has not been fully integrated. Some midstream projects, such as the production of new batteries, will run for at least 2025/2026. The government’s focus should be directed to accelerating the progress of the midstream project and convincing investors to carry out the many investment commitments that have been made,” said Pintoko Aji, co-author of IEVO 2023 and Renewable Energy Researcher, IESR.

For electric vehicle infrastructure, IESR assesses that although the installation has increased by 200% compared to 2021, the locations for Electric Vehicle Charging Station have not been spread evenly. 88% of Electric Vehicle Charging stations are still concentrated in Jakarta and Bali. Furthermore, the utilization of the Battery Swapping Station is still not standardized and only applies to certain brands.

“The government needs to facilitate Electric Vehicle Charging Station investment, one of which is changing the obligation to install three different types of ports in each Electric Vehicle Charging Station unit listed in MEMR Regulation No. 13/2020. The obligation to have three ports causes investment costs to swell to Rp 750 million-1.5 billion per Electric Vehicle Charging Station. Even though not all locations require three types of ports at once. If there is no such obligation, then with the same investment value, the number of Electric Vehicle Charging Stations built can be 3-4 times more,” Ilham added.

Ilham added that standardization of Battery Swapping Stations can be started from an electric motor with a battery capacity of 1.2 kWh or 1.44 kWh which is currently 79% of electric motors on the market, so it is not too difficult for manufacturing. Furthermore, the government also needs to standardize the shape and size of the battery to the electrical configuration in it.

Regarding the electrification of maritime and aviation transportation, Pintoko explained that the use of batteries in ships and aircraft has a challenge in the energy density of batteries, which makes them bigger and heavier, thereby reducing the cargo space of ships and aircraft payloads. This makes the electrification of maritime and aviation practical for a small scale with short distances.

IEVO 2023 recommends that the government strengthen upstream and midstream industry policies and regulations to reduce the price of electric vehicles, make rules to anticipate battery waste, increase interest from financial institutions for financing electric vehicles, and promote the use of electric vehicles.

IEVO 2023: Electrification of Transportation to Reduce GHG Emissions

February 19, 2023 – The Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR) launched Indonesia Electric Vehicles Outlook 2023 for the first time. This report discusses the status of the development of electric vehicles for passengers and the supporting ecosystem for developing electric cars in Indonesia. IESR views that climate change mitigation with a significant reduction in emissions from the transportation sector can be carried out in a participatory way by the community to adopt electric vehicles.

The transportation sector is a source of pollution and contributes to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. There are 600 MtCO2-eq of Indonesia’s GHG emissions in the energy sector in 2021; 23% come from the transportation sector. Land transportation is the most significant contributor to GHG emissions in the transportation sector, with more than 90%. Emissions from the transportation sector are predicted to increase by 53% in 2030 compared to 2015 and almost double between 2030 and 2060. Decarbonization of the transportation system by accelerating the adoption of environmentally friendly and low-emission electric vehicles could be one solution, along with the transition to renewable energy in the power sector

“The government has included the use of electric vehicles as one of the mitigation action plans in the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). However, the target set still needs to be aligned with the Paris Agreement to limit the increase in the earth’s temperature below 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2050. According to the IESR study, to achieve zero emission by 2050, the number of electric two-wheelers and four-wheelers vehicles must reach 110 million units by 2030,” said Fabby Tumiwa, Executive Director of IESR.

To achieve the target, Indonesia should accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles by supporting fiscal and non-fiscal policies. Since 2019, the government has been intensively pushing for industrial development and the use of electric cars. However, at the same time, several pro-fossil energy policies are still implemented, making adopting electric vehicles less than optimal. For example, government policies continue to subsidize fuel oil (BBM) and extend fuel sales to Euro II standards. These policies have reduced the attractiveness of consumers to acquire electric vehicles and reduced the benefits of switching to electric cars in the form of reduced fuel cost savings.

“Dependence on fossil fuels in our energy system, especially the transportation sector, makes our energy sector vulnerable to price fluctuations. The government is trying to reduce dependence on fossil fuels in the transportation sector through battery-based electric motorized vehicles (KBLBB). However, it is still difficult to find electric charging infrastructure, expensive purchase prices, and limited performance and models are the main obstacles to consumer adoption of KBLBB. These various obstacles need to be resolved by the government,” explain Faris Adnan, IEVO writer who is also a researcher on Electricity Systems, IESR.

The IESR findings show that by 2022, the adoption of electric motorbikes increased five fold from 5,748 units in 2021 to 25,782 units. In addition, the adoption of electric cars has almost quadrupled from 2,012 units in 2021 to 7,679 units in 2022. The promotion of electric vehicles drove this increase through the G20 event, which made electric cars the official vehicle of the delegation.

“Even though there is an increase, the number is still far from the target set by the government. The population of new electric motorbikes is 0.2% of the total motorbikes in Indonesia. Meanwhile, new electric cars reached 0.4%. Therefore, for KBLBB to be more attractive and affordable to the public, several additional policy instruments that are right on target are needed,” said Faris.

One such policy instrument is a combination of incentives for producers and market creation to accelerate the economies of scale for electric vehicles, especially two-wheelers electric vehicles, which have significant market potential. For this reason, IESR recommends that the government encourage the implementation of the Presidential Instruction for the purchase of electric vehicles by government agencies and state-owned enterprises and encourage adoption by the ride-hailing business and logistics to accelerate the adoption of electric cars by the market in the next 2-3 years.

Furthermore, to get more significant GHG emission reduction and environmental benefits, an increase in the mix of new renewable energy generators in the electricity system is also needed so that the emissions produced by KBLBB are lower than those from internal combustion engines.

“The IESR study shows that it will obtain new emission benefits if the renewable energy mix in the PLN electricity system is above 20%,” continued Faris

IESR will launch and discuss the Indonesia Electric Vehicle Outlook (IEVO) 2023 on February 21, 2023, 09:30 – 12:00: 00 WIB online via Zoom Conference + Livestream Youtube (IESR). This event is an effort to encourage the acceleration of electric vehicles in Indonesia, bring together various relevant stakeholders, and accelerate Indonesia’s steps to make an energy transition. The event will be attended by the Chairperson of the Indonesian Transportation Society’s Environment and Energy Transportation Forum, Indira Darmoyono, Director of Business Development Strategy & Special Projects Grab Indonesia, Rivana Mezaya, and others.