The launch of the EV Pilot Project in March 2021 aims to explore means of further reducing the land transport sector’s carbon footprint. With the public taking a keen interest on the progress of introducing electric vehicles (EV) into the country, the Electric Vehicle Joint Task Force (EVJTF) has planned to run the pilot project for two years until March 2023, during which assessments will be carried out on the public’s response, the infrastructure requirements as well as the supporting policy requirements.
Themed ‘Driving towards Greener Nation’, a number of key policy reviews and support programmes were planned for the pilot project. One of the implemented incentive policies is where owners of EVs will be exempted from paying the annual vehicle licence fee for the duration of the two-year pilot project. Installation of the first public EV rapid charging station is planned for this year. To date, a total of 19 EVs have been registered in the country. EV owners primarily use their own home charging units to charge their vehicles. Gauging the ownership and user experience of these early adopters would be invaluable to the pilot project and will be done in due course.
A mid-term review of the pilot project was conducted earlier this year which helped to identify strategic areas requiring further attention and evaluation. These strategic areas include the setting up of adequate charging infrastructure, impact on the power grid load, associated life-cycle costs and consumer behaviours.
As part of the ongoing socialisation process, the thematic issue of EVs was also deliberated during a panel discussion on June 23 at the Climate Action Week of the Brunei Mid-Year Conference and Exhibition 2022 (Brunei MYCE 2022) co-organised by the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism and Ministry of Development through the Brunei Climate Change Secretariat, with support from ministries and agencies. Topics such as ‘Driving Towards the Use of Electric Vehicles (EV) in Negara Brunei Darussalam’ by the Ministry of Transport and Infocommunications; ‘Technical, Safety and 5-year Cost of Ownership of EV’ and ‘Overview on Adaptation of EV Globally: Way Forward for Brunei’ by the Brunei Automobile Traders Association (BATA); as well as ‘BPC’s Experience on Electric Vehicles’ by the Berakas Power Company Sdn Bhd (BPC) were discussed.
From the deliberations, it was established that EVs when powered by a low-carbon energy (electrical) source, can deliver reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and with zero tailpipe emissions and are well suited to solve air pollution issues. With advances in EV technology, the prospect that costs can be lowered and vehicle manufacturers expanding their EV model offerings at competitive prices, play an important role in persuading consumers to purchase EVs in addition to the overall ownership and running costs.
These, among others, are matters that the EVJTF will further look into. While the objective set by the Brunei Darussalam National Climate Change Policy remains for EVs to make up to 60 per cent of total annual vehicle sales by the year 2035, the bigger objective would also be to see a reduction in the land transport carbon footprint in support of the national sustainable development objectives.
As such, while EVs can play a prominent role in the objectives, a combination of measures will be required overall.