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14th Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM14)/8th Mission Innovation (MI-8) Side Event: Accelerating Sustainable and Equitable E-Mobility in Asia’s Transport



14th Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM14)/8th Mission Innovation (MI-8) Side Event: Accelerating Sustainable and Equitable E-Mobility in Asia’s Transport

According to projections by the ITF, transport emissions in Asia are expected to rise faster than in other parts of the world, accounting for one third of passenger transport kilometres and two thirds of surface freight transport kilometres by 2030. Given the multi-layered growth requirements and the criticality of building sustainable cities, the emerging Asia-Pacific economies are urgently required to ensure an equitable scale-up of sustainable transport and energy solutions. 

The CEM14/MI-8 side event, Accelerating the energy transition in Asia's transport through sustainable and equitable e-mobility, brought together government representatives and practitioners from across the NDC-TIA and Leadership Group for Clean Transport in Asia (LG-CTA) network to discuss the development of transport decarbonization pathways and strategies in Asian countries. It was an enriching experience, with insightful discussions, impactful presentations, and meaningful networking opportunities. The roundtable included representatives from various organizations, including NITI Aayog, CESL, NREL, Department of Science and Technology (DST), India, Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, Kingdom of the Netherlands, DHL Group, OMI foundation, Agora Verkehrswende, ICCT, ITF, SLOCAT Partnership, WRI India, and GIZ. 

Key highlights of the roundtable discussions: 

  •  📕 Knowledge Exchange: The discussion facilitated knowledge sharing among representatives from different countries regarding their respective experiences, successes, and challenges in implementing decarbonization policies and initiatives.
  • 🔍 Policy Insights: It provides policymakers with valuable insights into effective policy frameworks, technological innovations, and sustainable practices that can accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy.
  • 🤝🏻Regional Collaboration: By fostering regional collaboration, the discussions promoted the exchange of best practices and encourage joint efforts to address shared environmental concerns.

Key takeaways:

  • Find energy alternatives to reduce transport emissions:

Despite its low per capita carbon emissions, Asia still accounted for 40% of global transport emissions in 2021. In the business-As-Usual scenario, the energy demand in transport is bound to double in the next decade. It is therefore time to look at alternatives. Better optimisation with solar energy and battery can pave the way for life cycle cost reduction. 

  • Finance and regulate Electric Vehicle (EV) charging.

Financial incentives would be a key, to achieve the ambitious targets set for transport decarbonisation. Moving forward, setting up standards and having transparency in terms of charging infrastructure would be crucial. 

  • Reduce e-bus procurement costs.

During the discussion, Convergence Energy Services Limited (CESL), a green energy focused venture under the Ministry of Power, New and Renewable Energy, India mentioned about the Aggregator based business model adapted by them in many endeavours, including buses. An aggregator-based business model refers to a platform or service that brings together multiple suppliers or service providers to offer their products or services to a larger audience. This model offers many advantages, including lowered transaction costs (viz both financial and socio-economic costs). Despite the significant advantages, the aggregator-based model also faces challenges, including maintaining a balance between the interests of suppliers and customers, managing disputes, and navigating regulatory issues. 

However, when executed effectively, the aggregator model can be a win-win for all stakeholders involved. Awareness about the upcoming transport sector demand, would help the industries to transform form rudimentary to a long-term engagement (where the operators will not only supply but also perform and adapt to risks). 

  • Align national and regional policies.

Proper standardization is crucial to bring subnational level work into national policies. Such developments aids in amplifying synergies in clean energy transition. This may involve delivering knowledge products regarding transport decarbonisation in terms of aligning national and regional decarbonisation and building upon existing commitments.

  • Urge countries to set emission target for transport.

Countries have a global target – Paris agreement, which acts as a binding target. There are NDC’s as an implementation tool for individual countries to reach the 1.5 degree C scenario. Currently, 85% of global countries have measures for transport decarbonisation but only 18% have a target set in place.

Having a sectoral target in place facilitates better monitoring and improves effectiveness of the climate actions. It enhances the overall ambition of a country's NDC by providing a clear roadmap for emissions reduction within specific industries. This approach allows for a more comprehensive strategy to transition toward low-carbon alternatives in each sector.  

  • Use MOUs to attract investments.

Representative from the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, Kingdom of the Netherlands, mentioned about the Global Memorandum of Understanding on Zero-Emission Trucks and Buses.  Currently 27 countries have signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Zero-Emission Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles, leading countries commit to working together to enable 100% zero-emission new truck and bus sales by 2040 with an interim goal of 30% zero-emission vehicle sales by 2030, to facilitate achievement of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Such MOUs, plays a crucial role in bringing market signals and demonstrating a country's openness to investments.

When countries engage in such comprehensive agreements and partnerships, it catalysts for real progress in the transition to a more sustainable and low-carbon future.

  • Ensure economies at scale.

We need incentives to ensure economies at scale. More stable the framework is, the easier it is to convince shareholders of the needs of transformation. Aligning to accounting standards and setting up a clear regulatory and incentive framework (for companies to base their investment decisions) are two important factors to improve economies of scale. 

  • Leverage taxes to disincentivize ICE vehicles

Just transition as well as cost parity between ICE and EVs are factors affecting the transformation. Having a tax system that disincentivizes ICE vehicles would be helpful. EU member countries are role models for such examples.

  • Prioritize circular economy.

For India, the circular economy is a crucial entity. It paves way for maximizing resource efficiency, reducing environmental impact and build economic resilience. At the national level, the Battery Waste Management rules were notified in 2022. The Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) will be a gamechanger in developing this circular economy in India. NITI Aayog is working towards building a holistic circular economy action plan for India. 16 strategic agenda items with niche initiatives like digital battery passport, innovative financing mechanisms etc are being focused. 

  • Trace EV battery disposal globally. 

International cooperation would facilitate a safe and environmentally friendly transboundary movement of End-of-Life batteries. A clear definition of data/information for efficient battery tracing and standards becomes crucial. 

Overall, the event was a resounding success and highlighted several key areas that need to be addressed to accelerate the energy transition in Asia's transport through sustainable and equitable e-mobility.

The event also witnessed the release of two reports developed under the NDC-TIA India component at the side-event. The report delves deep into a range of critical topics of Battery Circularity and comparative analysis of ICE and EV on a resource efficiency perspective. 

 To access the reports:

📝 Report 1: Comparative Analysis of EVs and ICEVs from Resource Efficiency Perspective

📝 Report 2: Overview of Battery Recycling Ecosystem: Stakeholder identification and perspective on Environment, Health & Safety aspects