The government has shown its commitment to promoting the widespread use of electric vehicles (EV) in Cambodia. In an attempt to attract consumers, the Ministry of Public Works and Transport is speeding up the installation of EV charging stations and seeking cooperation with more companies – especially those in the US – to coordinate more stations across the Kingdom.

The government has explained the many benefits of increased use of EVs in Cambodia, which is why it has directed so many resources to promoting their use. One of the main benefits is purely financial. Operating an EV costs individual citizens a fraction of the amount needed to run a petrol or diesel vehicle. According to the transport ministry, it costs $4 for an EV to travel 100km, whereas a fuel burning vehicle may cost $10 or more.

Taxes and duties on imported vehicles are another aspect to consider. Tariffs on the EVs favoured by the government are 63 per cent, while gasoline vehicles average 120 per cent.

The greatest reason for the world’s increased passion for EVs however is the reduction in environmental damage that they cause. The use of EVs is a global trend which is being pushed by most progressive nations around the world. On June 22, the European Commission announced that it would ban the sale of gasoline, diesel and hybrid vehicles from 2035 onwards. All new vehicles in the European market will be 100 per cent EV.

The Cambodian government has also launched a long-term strategic plan towards carbon neutrality by 2050, aiming for an EV fleet of 40 per cent of the Kingdom’s cars and 70 per cent of its motorcycles.

Transport minister Sun Chanthol points at an electric-vehicle (EV) charging point installed at his ministry during its inauguration in March. TRANSPORT MINISTRY

The use of EVs in Cambodia is increasing year on year. According to a ministry report, in the first five months of this year, 84 electric vehicles were registered, an increase of more than 800 per cent compared to the same period in 2021, when just six were registered.

Transport minister Sun Chanthol expressed his pride in the growth of EVs registration in Cambodia, hoping it would continue to grow exponentially. However, he raised some challenges that needed to be addressed.

“Cambodia is not yet completely capable of switching to EV usage. We lack the necessary support infrastructure, such as equipment replacement services, specialised workers and battery storage capabilities. In addition, the availability of charging stations remains limited,” he said.

To push the use of EVs, the ministry has been adding charging locations steadily and encouraging the largest petrol station operators to do likewise.

Cambodia currently has 10 charging stations in Phnom Penh, two along the soon-to-be-opened Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway and several on major arterial routes including national roads 1, 6 and 7.