Wider adoption of electric vehicles will reduce emissions, save energy and boost the competitiveness of automakers in the Asia-Pacific region, industry experts confirmed at a workshop on innovations in the industry.

Auto manufacturers, regulators and policymakers gathered this week in Hong Kong, China to discuss strategies and policy to improve technology and infrastructure necessary for the wide-spread adoption of electric vehicles.

Development of this industry will contribute to green growth in the region, a key priority for APEC in 2011. APEC Transportation and Energy Ministers last month designated low carbon transport as a key strategy for reducing the energy intensity of transport and green house gas emissions.

Ministers also urged APEC economies to promote the introduction of biofuels, natural gas vehicles, and electric drive vehicles, within a comprehensive framework that also includes measures to improve the efficiency of vehicles and traffic systems. 

“Member economies agree that more electric vehicles on the road will save energy and reduce carbon emissions,” said Phyllis Yoshida, U.S. Department of Energy’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Asia, Europe and the Americas and Lead Shepherd for the APEC Energy Working Group. “The agenda also covers innovations in infrastructure and harmonizing of standards for critical technology components, which will help to facilitate the deployment and trade of the vehicles.”

Hong Kong, China’s Under Secretary for the Environment, Dr Poon Kit said the workshop underlines the strategic importance of the wider adoption of electric vehicles. 

“Wider use of electric vehicles can bring substantial environmental improvements,” said Dr Poon. “It also helps promote the development of a green economy by unleashing the economic potential that is enfolded in the design, manufacture, marketing and servicing of this greener form of transport.”

“However, no economy can do this alone; the promotion and development of electric vehicles requires the collective efforts and joint collaboration by members of the international community,” she continued.

Hong Kong, China is taking a multi-pronged approach to promoting electric vehicles by providing financial incentives and infrastructure support. The goal is to improve roadside air quality and promote a green economy.

While acknowledging the damage to the supply chain as a result of the Japan earthquake and tsunami disaster, Japan’s Kenji Miura, Deputy Director of the Automobile Division at the Ministry of the Economy, Trade and Industry said that many auto makers and component producers have resumed production ahead of schedule.

Korea Energy Management Corporation’s transport manager, Kyung-Wan Rho, discussed concerns about limited natural resources because Korea imports 96 percent of its energy including petrol and diesel for vehicles, making the economy vulnerable to global prices and supplies. He also said that Korea has developed innovative policies to reduce its reliance on energy imports and reduce polluting emissions.

Common standards will improve the export of electric vehicles and their component parts for sale throughout the region. APEC is working to harmonize standards for manufacturing electric cars so that they can be more easily traded across borders.

“Standardization creates the building blocks to innovate today and tomorrow,” confirmed Eric Simmon, the U.S. expert on vehicle-to-grid interoperability standards at the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

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For more information, contact:  or Michael Chapnick +65 6891 9670 at mc@apec.org.