LAOS has taken a step towards the development of electric vehicle (EV) systems with the launch of a pilot project for vehicle battery charging stations.
The Ministry of Energy and Mines is set to work with the private sector on the project as part of efforts to promote the use of EVs in Laos and support the government’s move to minimise the use of fossil fuels.
In his opening remarks at an event held on Tuesday to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the project, Minister of Energy and Mines Khammany Inthirath said Laos imports a large volume of fuel annually which has caused a huge trade deficit over the years.
“We are heavily dependent on imported fossil fuels, which always causes a huge deficit annually. Therefore, this pilot project on the use of electric vehicles will be very helpful in decreasing the consumption of fuel,” he said.
Laos is promoting the use of clean energy in the transport sector as part of measures to translate the government’s policy into an action plan until 2025, a strategy for 2030, and a vision for 2050 for supplying energy to the sector.
“Laos has abundant potential for the use of natural resources such as water, solar power and wind, and waste. These could be used to generate 26,000MW. So far, about 20 per cent of this potential has been developed,” he said.
Khammany said Laos imported almost two billion litres of fuel in 2016, worth more than $1 billion.
“Today, this meeting and signing ceremony are part of the government’s practical action to launch the use of electric vehicles in cities under a pilot project,” he said.
He noted that prior to the official inauguration of the service, it is necessary to develop infrastructure, especially charging stations, spare parts outlets and repair centres.
Prior to a workshop on electric vehicles, Electricite du Laos (EDL) signed an MoU with EV Lao Co Ltd for a feasibility study on charging stations, which will be jointly implemented by the two sectors.
EDL managing director Boun-oum Syvanpheng said his firm has been actively studying charging systems for electric vehicles as part of preparations for changing over to clean energy.
“EV Lao and EDL will actively cooperate to study and work on the charging stations for EVs project,” he said.
EV Lao president Bounleuth Luangpraseuth said the company is keen to work with the government on the possibility of building charging stations.
“After our company signed the MoU on a study for charging stations for EVs, we will assign experts and technical teams to work with EDL on a feasibility study on charging systems before importing any electric vehicles,” he added.
He said charging stations could be installed at public and private locations and called for recommendations from the public and private sector for the development and operation of electric vehicles in Laos.