Nissan wants to see governments, automakers and other key stakeholders working together to ease the decision for drivers to make the shift to electric vehicles in the Asia and Oceania region, the automaker said at the sixth Philippine EV Summit this week.
The Japanese carmaker says it is committed to leading the world in electric mobility, and intend to introduce a full range of EVs worldwide within four years, but that while the tipping point where battery electric vehicles become cheaper to buy than gas guzzlers is edging closer day by day, many consumers in the region are still hesitant to go EV.
Figures from research conducted earlier this year by Frost & Sullivan in South East Asia on behalf of Nissan has shown although buyers are happy to pay more for electric cars, they also want financial incentives to do so.
In the Philippines for instance, the percentage of potential car buyers keen to purchase an EV jumps from 46% to 75% once financial incentives are put in place such as waiving road taxes.
As Nicholas Thomas, head of Nissan’s electric vehicle business unit, told the Summit on July 10, “What we are going to see is a crossover, a point very soon where battery electric vehicles are going to cross over with internal combustion engine vehicles, and battery electric vehicles are going to become cheaper.”
“That’s not far down the road, that’s already coming closer. If we want to accelerate that trend, that’s where we need some help from government,” he told government and industry officials, stakeholders and media at the summit.
This sentiment is echoed in Australia, where EV uptake continues to lag behind other countries due to long payback periods, as reported by L.E.K. Consulting last month.
A report commissioned by the Clean Energy Finance Corp and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, also suggests that with incentives, EV uptake in Australia would increase rapidly.
Countries leading the way in electric vehicle adoption, such as Norway, have high EV adoption because the break even is far lower (10,000km in Norway according to the L.E.K. Consulting report compared to 40,000km in Australia), thanks to government incentives to buy EVs.
This supports the argument for Nissan Asia’s call, borne out of the company’s participation in the summit to further the discussion on how to accelerate EV sales in the region.
Nissan’s study also showed that other incentives that would sway consumers towards buying battery electric vehicles include installing charging stations in apartment buildings (70%), as well as priority lanes for EVs (56%) and free parking (53%).
“We can help reduce CO2 emissions and reduce dependence on fossil fuels and shift to renewable energies through electric vehicles. Cooperation is the key to this. We need to work together,” Thomas said.
The company is already the maker of the world’s most popular EV, the Nissan LEAF, which won the 2018 World Green Car award this year, and will reach Australian shores as well as Hong Kong, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, and Thailand in this fiscal year.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.