Electric transportation, its deconstruction and implications in Asia 

The way people travel by land is gradually experiencing changes due to the advent of electric transportation through electric vehicles.

The way people travel by land is gradually experiencing changes due to the advent of electric transportation. Mobility using electric vehicles (EV) has driven growth in the economy of Asian countries that engages in EV global manufacturing.

Fortune Business Insights, an organization that performs market studies, notes that the EV market segment was valued at USD 246.70 billion last 2020. It can grow up to USD 1,318.22 billion in 2028. Wherein the demand for EVs has increased as a fervent response to climate change effects.

The distinctiveness of an EV

Electric cars function almost the same as hybrid and fuel-powered vehicles. The absence of a combustion system made EVs more sustainable due to their lesser impact on the environment.

EVs have common parts. These are :

1. Traction battery pack – Also known as electric vehicle battery (EVB), the traction battery pack serves as an electrical storage system that powers an EV’s electric motors  

2. DC-DC Converter – Renders the required voltage in charging the auxiliary battery and distributes the battery’s power accordingly

3. Electric motor – Enables the wheels of an EV  to rotate by turning electrical energy into kinetic energy

4. Power inverter-Transforms a battery’s DC power into AC power

5. Charge port– Intended for charging the battery pack

6. Onboard charger– Turns AC supply to DC supply and monitors as well as controls a battery pack’s internal current flow

7. Controller– Regulates the electrical energy provisioned by batteries into electric motors

8. Auxiliary batteries– These batteries can serve as an alternative to the main battery and enable car charging

9. Thermal system (cooling) – Maintains the temperature of an EV’s main components

10. Transmission – Moves the electric motor‘s mechanical power to the wheels

Exploring EV charging transportation solutions

Electric transportation also makes use of renewable energy to power an electric car. Apart from it, advanced electric car manufacturers such as Tesla have produced self-driving cars that can operate autonomously. 

Meanwhile, road recognition using visual inputs is necessary for smart cars to have the capability to check their surroundings. This is the “Deep Learning (DL) technique.” DL process real-time images and make them into algorithms that produce signals to control the movement of the EVs.

The pivot of demand for electric vehicles aids in the development of car batteries. Smaller electric cars like Nissan LEAF with 40 kWh battery will take about 11 hours to fully charge. They can run a total of 140 miles.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the US did a prediction. Into which they deem that the battery life of modern EVs can last up to 12 to 15 years when used in moderate climates. It can last up to 8 to 12 years when used in extreme climates.

Electric car maintenance is much cheaper and easier as it has fewer moving parts. However, their engines should be cool to prevent critical parts from overheating. 

There is also a need to consider the proper use of electric car chargers and their other auxiliary parts to avoid future electric car problems. Charging at 85% to 90% power in each usage can extend the battery service life of EVs. Several electric car makers like Tesla, BYD, Toyota, Nissan, Ford, and BMW offer electric car insurance and battery warranty up to 100,000 miles for at least eight years. 

EVs in Asia

Electric transportation is quickly becoming popular in Asia, especially in advanced countries such as Japan, China, and South Korea. Wherein, the Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) between 2018 and 2021 is at 24.6%. This was according to GlobalData, a leading information and data analytics provider.  

Government regulations were already in place by imposing the proper guidelines like restrictions on “Internal Combustion Engine Vehicles (ICEVs).” Japan, South Korea, Indonesia, and Thailand have banned said ICEVs. Subsidies and incentives were made available by governments to make electric cars affordable to consumers.

Strong support from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)  also helps with the expected surge in demand in the electric transportation arena. As the organization envisions being the next EV hub, they have already involved policymakers to enact laws. Doing so would support investment in EV infrastructures.

Common 2-seater electric cars and 3-wheel electric cars were already seen rolling out on the roads of Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and India. Such is in regards to the advent of electric car home chargers for small unit EVs that have been made available.

The Philippines have passed the Electric Vehicle Industry Development Act (EVIDA). It introduces and incentivizes the use of EVs.  Meanwhile, Thailand has a 3030 EV Production Policy. It aims to increase 30% of all vehicles produced to be replaced with EVs by 2030. 

Indonesia seeks to stop the use of fossil-fueled vehicles by 2050. Malaysia is also expanding its policies to set up charging stations and distribution. Singapore, on the other hand, will work with Hyundai for made-in-Singapore EVs.

Over the last two years, a huge shift to EVs in Southeast Asia has been apparent. Consumers can use EVs to cushion the surging prices of gasoline and costly registration fees. Home charging was also introduced for the convenience of users.

Electric transportation challenges in Asia

Technology plays a big part in the development of EVs. According to OSVehicle, an online platform for car enthusiasts, an electric car requires between 1,000 to 2,000 microchips. Complex designs and functions will demand more chips and processors for installation. 

Chips have gone on limited supply due to the pandemic that limits access to some ports and semiconductor factories. Closing the loop of EV batteries is one of the many important aspects considered by EV supply chain companies.

EVs rely on the efficiency of their batteries. Most electric cars for sale use three types of batteries. These are the lead-acid, nickel metal hydride (NiMH), and Lithium-ion (Li-ion) to power up electric cars.

Lead-acid batteries use a combination of lead alloy and sulphuric acid to produce electricity. Recycling lead-acid batteries have been very successful over the past years. Lead and plastic components can be molten to generate new battery parts. 

On the other hand, sulphuric acid can be converted to other forms that can be used for household cleaning products, glass, or textiles. However, due to its weight, the EV industry has regarded it as a not sustainable component of EVs.

If used properly, nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries have a long service life. NiMH is globally efficient to recycle and does not contain any toxic metals. Cells can be easily dried out to turn into raw materials for the steel industries. The downside of NiMH in the EV industry is that it can easily discharge and does not perform well in cold weather.

Lithium-ion (Li-ion) was the most popular in EVs last 2022. The Li-ion is more stable, lightweight, and very convenient to recharge. The metal components of Li-ion are also easy to recycle and reuse through an oxygen-free process.

The electric car battery replacement costs have also significantly decreased from the initial $1000 per kWh for battery packs in 2010. The current industry standard rate is $145 per kWh for battery cells and $190 per kWh for battery packs.

Most emerging and underdeveloped Asian countries cannot adopt yet the electrification of vehicles. Infrastructures for charging stations and sustainable power grids have limits, and the readiness of Asian countries to support the upsurge of electric vehicles will take a long time to set up by 2040. According to the ASEAN Centre for Energy, the phenomenon of being concerned about the lack of charging stations and battery limitation is “range anxiety.”

The gravity of EVs on the market

Megacities in Asia have long-term concerns with air pollution, and utilizing EVs can significantly improve air quality. The sustainability of moving around while incurring a zero carbon footprint has been one of the selling points of  EVs. Therefore, improving the transportation logistics and distribution of EVs in Asia will have a great impact on reducing the carbon footprint of the transport sector.

Global and local institutions should support the EV industry in order for Asian countries to shift well to electric transportation. Also, emerging Asian countries should follow the roadmap of successful countries such as the US, Australia, and China. 

On the other hand, driving electric cars with lesser or almost no emissions could positively affect the environment. EVs are cost-efficient, which conserves energy and helps users save a lot. 

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