Senior Minister of Public Works and Transport (MPWT) H.E. Sun Chanthol; Minister attached to the Prime Minister and Managing Director of Electricité du Cambodge (EdC) H.E. Keo Rottanak; H.E. Pablo Kang, Australian Ambassador to Cambodia; and H.E. Tina Redshaw, British Ambassador to Cambodia, held a panel discussion on the future of electric vehicles in Cambodia.

The discussion centered on the expansion of the electric vehicle (EV) market globally and the recent availability of EVs in Cambodia including the Jaguar I-Pace, Onion (e-tuk tuks) and Thada (e-moped). The panel discussed the benefits and challenges of increasing the number of EVs in Cambodia and the impacts on the economy, environment, transport and urban planning, and the electricity grid.

H.E. Sun Chanthol said “the transportation sector accounts for nearly half of Cambodia’s total energy consumption in 2018, of which nearly all is from petroleum products. Electrifying Cambodia’s transport sector is therefore a very important step towards reducing Cambodia’s overall carbon emissions.”

Charging stations can be installed at home, the office or public spaces, allowing consumers to charge their vehicles easily as part of daily life. H.E. Keo Rottanak encouraged the acceleration of the synergies between transport electrification and the electricity grid, noting that “smart charging infrastructure can help society achieve a better balance between supply and demand on the grid, creating economic value for consumers and helping decarbonise the transport sector.”

The Australian Government has been supporting the Ministry of Mines and Energy to develop a Renewable Energy Assessment and Integration Strategy that can act as a blueprint to policymakers on integrating more variable renewable energy into the electricity grid. Australia is also the Founding Sponsor of Clean Energy Week 2021, which was held last week.

Preliminary analysis from the Strategy shows that including more solar and wind will make the electricity system cheaper, even when accounting for required infrastructure. Electric vehicles can further help reduce certain infrastructure costs.

Australian Ambassador to Cambodia, H.E. Pablo Kang, said that “Cambodia has a great opportunity to be at the cutting edge of clean energy and EVs, using Cambodia’s abundant low cost solar and wind power potential. Australia is proud to be sharing our knowledge and expertise with Cambodia in this exciting new chapter.”

EVs are cleaner than conventional vehicles as they don’t burn fuel and can help reduce air pollution in cities such as Phnom Penh. The British Ambassador to Cambodia, H.E. Tina Redshaw, highlighted the importance of electrification of transport for emissions reduction as global leaders meet for the international climate negotiations at COP26 in Glasgow. “COP26 needs to drive global energy transition to zero emission transport. As we rebuild our economies, EVs allows for job creation and new supply chains. I’m proud to be leading the charge as the first Ambassador with an electric vehicle”, said H.E. Redshaw.

H.E. Sun Chanthol explained that MPWT is drafting policies and support for EVs, stating that “we need to ensure the whole infrastructure for EVs in Cambodia is set up, including charging stations, service facilities, spare parts, trained workers and battery disposal facilities. We want to ensure quality EVs are brought into Cambodia – we don’t want poor quality batteries coming in and just ending up as waste.”

H.E. Sun Chanthol said “I arrived for this panel discussion in an I-Pace electric Jaguar – it was a wonderful experience, on the one hand just like a normal fuel engine car, on the other hand, it’s a futuristic car, modern, smooth, quiet, efficient and handled so well on the road.”

The full panel discussion is available on EnergyLab Cambodia’s, the Australian Embassy in Cambodia’s and the British Embassy in Cambodia’s Facebook page.

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