8 Jun 22

Beyond cars: shared electric in APAC

Whilst electrification in Asia is, to say the least, challenging due to cost, availability of vehicles and limited charging infrastructure, the sharing market has been booming for many years. The concept of sharing assets amongst multiple users is embedded in Asian cultures; in addition, most per capita APAC GDPs are a good indication that, for most families, it is not easy to afford a vehicle.

Wider picture

Isolating the “electric and shared” topic within corporate mobility does not work in Asia. As opposed to European fleets, benefit vehicles are reserved for executive levels, whilst tool of trade cars typically run very high mileages. The corporate car ecosystem is therefore limited to functional vehicles that don’t allow for sharing.

Those cars however are not suited for city traffic. Asian cities are big and growing annually as urbanisation continues, and lack fundamental infrastructure to cater for an increasing amount of vehicles. As a result, car drivers spend a lot of time in traffic jams, whilst good alternatives are available.

Consequently, “electric and shared” applies mainly to people movement in general in the APAC region, rather than to corporate mobility.

The local reality

The transition to electric in APAC does not come from the consumer nor from the corporate fleet manager and is not driven by sustainability targets, as is the case for EU fleets. Also, electrification of vehicles in APAC does not deliver true sustainability – or anything close to a “net zero” result, as electricity is most often generated by coal-powered electricity generation.

When China electrifies, it’s because the country wants to reduce its dependence on other countries for oil import (amongst other reasons) and when Vietnam promotes electric motorcycles, it’s also because of noise and pollution control.

In this context, the rationale of EV transition being different, the outcome and the local solutions are not the same as in Europe.

Electric and Shared in APAC

Nonetheless the market for electric and shared vehicles is massive in APAC, but essentially limited to electric motorbikes that are available for sharing and ride-hailing providers that have started the transition to electric or electrified vehicles.

These solutions are mainly used by consumers and have not made it to default solutions for corporate fleets. Most policies of global corporates are to some extend a translation of the global policy – or apply similar principles – and are focused on company cars and who is entitled to them. Sourcing is equally focused on acquiring vehicles, rather than finding the best solution taking into consideration local realities.

For the Fleet Manager

Starting from the policy perspective, it makes sense to include the very professional Asian sharing solutions, offered by companies such as Grab, Gojek, Ola. These companies have put electrification on the agenda and will drive sustainability through sharing, hitting multiple objectives at the same time: reducing traffic and delivering sustainability.

Authored by: Yves Helven