Electric Vehicles to Support Decarbonization of Transport

Jakarta, 28 March 2023 – The energy transition process requires great efforts from all sectors, including the transportation sector. Transport decarbonization then becomes a practical and affordable way for individuals to cut carbon emissions. One way to do this is by using an electric vehicle. In an interview with Saya Pilih Bumi at IIMS last February 24, Faris Adnan, Researcher for Electricity Systems and Distributed Energy Resources at IESR, explained the progress of the decarbonization of transportation that is currently happening in Indonesia.

“From year to year, the development of electric vehicles in Indonesia continues to increase. In 2022 alone, the increase in the adoption of electric motorbikes can reach 5 times and electric cars 3 times compared to the previous year,” explained Faris.

Geographically, 70-80% of electric vehicles in Indonesia are still concentrated in Jakarta. In terms of the economic ability of buyers, most of the users are also in the upper middle class. This demographic is following the economic capacity of each region, which considers that the price of electric vehicles is still competitive compared to fuel vehicles.

Faris said charging facilities tend to be built in areas with high electric vehicle users, creating a dilemma for local electric vehicle users and investors. Electric vehicle users are concentrated in Jakarta, so most of the Public Electric Vehicle Charging Stations (SPKLU) are built in Jakarta. Investors will be more reluctant to build in areas where there are no users, while users will also reconsider using electric vehicles due to range anxiety. Thus, government policies and investments are needed to stop these problems.

Regarding the performance of the electric vehicle itself, Faris thinks that the technology is not perfect. The system has limitations which, when removed, can make the range farther or the speed higher. However, doing so will wear the battery more easily. In addition, Faris assessed that if the vehicle’s power is low, its speed will also decrease, in contrast to fuel vehicles.

Every year, fuel consumption increases by around 1.2 million kiloliters, which contributes to a significant increase in carbon emissions. Faris then explained that the comparison of emissions between electric vehicles and fuel depends on their use. Currently, the majority of Indonesia still uses coal as an energy generator, so the use of electric vehicles has not yet become zero emission. But with the same use, the emissions emitted from electric vehicles are certainly lower. If electric vehicles are sourced from renewable energy, the emissions released will be minimal compared to if the electricity is sourced from coal-fired power plants.

“Electric vehicles are important for pursuing decarbonization, but they are not the only solution. If we talk about decarbonization, it is important to use the Avoid-Shift-Improve (ASI) framework. The existence of this electric vehicle can also help to let go of our dependence on fossil fuel, and even better if it is integrated into public transportation,” concluded Faris.