The Ministry of Public Works and Transport on September 14 inaugurated its third public electric vehicle (EV) charging kiosk, this time in central Siem Reap town, raising hopes for the wide adoption of the alternative fuel vehicles going forward.
A ministry statement issued in conjunction with the inauguration ceremony appears to indicate that 305 EVs were registered by July 31, up from the 16 logged by the same date last year, in an increase it says reflects popular awareness and support for EV use in Cambodia.
Speaking at the ceremony in Boeung Don Pa village, Slakram commune, minister Sun Chanthol highlighted the benefits of driving EVs, compared to conventional fuel-powered vehicles.
“EVs are up to three times more energy-efficient than fuel vehicles, and maintenance costs are lower due to the fewer number of parts. More importantly, EVs do not emit toxic gases into the atmosphere and they move real quietly. Khmer people are now more aware of the importance of using EVs,” he said.
However, Chanthol stressed that private sector investment in EV charging points at filling stations is needed to encourage EV adoption. “We hope that the private sector, as well as other development partners, will provide more EV charging stations so that people would buy more EVs and use them more,” he said.
The minister revealed a number of relevant statistics: the average import duty levied on conventional vehicles is about 122 per cent, but can be around 50 per cent for EVs; and there are currently about 5.7 million motorcycles – a category that in all likelihood includes most if not all three-wheelers – and one million larger vehicles on Cambodian roads.
Butchaiah Gadde, UN Development Programme (UNDP) country representative in Cambodia, was cited in the statement as saying that EVs will benefit the economy and environmental protection efforts in many ways, and that the agency is pleased to be working with the government to promote their use.
The owner of a car dealership in Phnom Penh that does not sell EVs, who asked not to be named, acknowledged that there are now a number of those vehicles on the road, but affirmed that customers never ask for them.
He brought up the distinct lack of charging facilities, and the difficulties associated with planning and taking trips to the provinces. “I’m not ready to bring in EVs for sale, let’s wait and see what happens, especially when it comes to the charging stations,” he said.
The ministry has commissioned three public EV charging points – the first at its headquarters in the capital, another in Preah Sihanouk province, and now the third in Siem Reap – and plans to install a fourth in Battambang province with UNDP support.
Of note, Chevron (Cambodia) Ltd, the local manager of the Caltex petroleum brand, on April 26 launched its first EV charging point at a filling station along Prey Sar Road in the commune of the same name, in southern Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district.
Speaking at the launch then, Chevron Cambodia chairman Pongtorn Tangmanuswong said the event marked a “new phase of development” in the company’s services in the Kingdom, which he said would aid the government in stimulating economic growth now and in the future.