The Lao government is aiming to increase the number of electric vehicles (EV) on the country’s streets to one per cent by 2025 and over 30 per cent in 2030.
Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh recently approved a new policy on the use of EVs to minimise fuel imports and reduce harmful gas emissions.
Laos is promoting the use of clean energy in the transport sector as part of measures to translate the government’s policy into an action plan until 2025, a strategy for 2030, and a vision for 2050.
The policy is part of efforts to fulfil the national agenda on addressing the country’s economic and financial difficulties, mainly through austerity measures aimed at reducing the import of fuel-inefficient cars and promoting the use of electricity.
Laos has abundant potential to produce electricity from water, solar power and wind, and waste. These resources could be used to generate 26,000MW. So far, about 20 per cent of this potential has been developed.
In order to increase the number of EV dealers, the government will not set restrictions on the import of EVs, but vehicles imported and sold in Laos must meet international standards for quality, safety, after-sales service, and maintenance.
This must include a system for the management of waste resulting from the operation of EV businesses.
The government will encourage businesses to set up factories for the production of EV parts and other components, as well as invest in the development of charging stations throughout the country.
There will also be tax exemptions or reductions on the equipment imported for EV production and charging stations.
The government has appointed Electricite du Laos (EdL) as the service provider for the installation of charging stations, with the state-owned power company being instructed not to charge meter fees to residences or businesses that make use of these facilities.
EdL will provide priority EV parking spots as well as charging stations in public areas.
The testing of charging systems for EVs is a vital part of long-term preparations for switching to the use of clean energy.
Under the policy, the annual road tax for EVs will be 30 per cent less than for petrol vehicles of equal engine power.
The government aims to be a leader and model in the use of EVs in state administration, then encouraging state enterprises and public transport operators to use EVs.
Laos imports a large quantity of fuel annually, which has contributed to a huge trade deficit in recent years, according to EdL.
In 2016, Laos imported almost 2,000 million litres of fuel, worth more than $1 billion, with the cost shooting up to nearly $2 billion last year.
VIENTIANE TIMES/ASIA NEWS NETWORK