The Races of South East Asia EV

The Races of South East Asia EV

By Neil Foo 

kuala lumpur — EV ( Electrical Vehicle) is widely accepted that it can be a way to reduce the impact of global warming via cleaner technology and phasing out greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, it could be less dependent on the fluctuation of petroleum price all this while.

South East Asia (SEA) countries are taking multiple steps forward in the EV race and some fact finding as below :

  • EV penetration in SEA stood at 4% in 2020
  • EV penetration expected to grow five times to 20% by 2025
  • EV to outsell internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs) in SEA from 2035
  • EVs are given its addressable market of 40 million units in the 4W and 220 million units in the 2W segments respectively
  • Establishing an essential public charging network is a strategic first step
  • American, European, Japanese, South Korean EV are here
  • China has a proven EV model with a complete value chain potential for SEA’s partnership
  • Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore remain ahead of the pack in terms of developing EV-friendly policies
  • Malaysian consumers are very price-sensitive and pro-national cars, whereas the Philippines prefers motorcycles
  • Vietnam caught surprise with her EV aggressiveness
  • Indonesia glides with the natural resources ie. Nickle

The most significant SEA’s moves are :



  • into Nickle mining as the major world raw material miner and processor for lithium battery related used in EV
  • wants their EVs to make up at least 20% of its overall production by 2025, including 2,200 EVs, 711,000 hybrids and 2.1 million electric motorcycles
  • with Indonesia EV Development Map, Toyota Motor Corp has planned to invest US$2 billion to develop EVs in Indonesia from 2019 until 2023
  • Hyundai moves their regional HQ to Indonesia


  • is updating an existing tax policy that exempts clean vehicles from an excise tax to encourage more EV adoption and is looking to be the region’s EV hub
  • set a goal way back in 2015 to create 1.2 million electric vehicles by 2026 with industry incentives, standards, infrastructure and charging prices, etc. by 2036
  • Back in 2018, Thailand Board of Investment (BOI) has approved BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Mitsubishi and SAIC for their EV investment on this 70 million population soil
  • Nissan announced in February 2021 that it will make Thailand its hub for EVs in the SEA region


  • Vietnam Vinfast has also recently launched its very own locally produced EVs – three SUVs with up to Level 3 autonomous driving


SEA’s 600 million people population with the vision of migrating to higher income bracket, poise a great potential market to transform the petrol-powered car to EV.

American, European, Japanese, Korean, Chinese EV are eyeing on the SEA’s EV related masterplans to set their strategic footing in racing for the meat pie of the world highest GDP growth region!

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