Electric Vehicles as Green Transportation in Indonesia Through ESG Lense

Green transportation is a means of transportation with a low negative impact on the environment.

Climate change has become a fundamental global problem and requires concrete efforts to overcome climate change. As the human population on Earth increases, the use of transportation also increases to support everyone’s mobility. However, unfortunately, not all countries have residents who have the habit of using public transportation or environmentally friendly vehicles for their daily activities, including Indonesia. Indonesia is one of the largest countries contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. As human population growth increases, the use of transportation will increase and this will cause an increase in greenhouse gas emissions released into the atmosphere. One of the largest ingredients in greenhouse gas emissions is carbon dioxide (CO2), based on the total CO2 emissions released, three components have the most influence on high levels of carbon gas, namely the electricity sector (42%), transportation (23%), and housing (6 %) (Sudjoko, 2021). In Indonesia, the amount of CO2 emissions continues to increase every year. This increase in CO2 emissions is directly proportional to the increase in the number of motorized vehicles in Indonesia. In 2018, based on BPS data, the number of motorized vehicles in Indonesia reached 146 million units (Sudjoko, 2021). Almost the majority of automotive products used in Indonesia use fuel oil (BBM) as an energy source and this further exacerbates the increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

Based on the data above, efforts are needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through various sectors, one of which is transportation. It is time for governments in various countries to increase the use of environmentally friendly transportation, also known as green transportation. Green transportation is a means of transportation with a low negative impact on the environment, such as non-motorized transportation, namely walking and cycling, the use of green vehicles, carsharing, as well as trying to build or protect urban transportation systems that save fuel and space so that can create a healthy lifestyle (Arfianto, 2013). In the last five years, studies on the development of green transportation around the world have become an important concern for academics and researchers to encourage the need for sustainable transportation. The concept of transportation sustainability implemented through green transportation assumes the sustainability of life in the urban environment. Green transportation includes electric vehicles. trains, buses, and bicycles.

The use of alternative energy that can be found in green transportation, especially in this article, will discuss electric vehicles. The use of electric vehicles as green transportation is currently very necessary to reduce carbon emissions and support environmentally friendly energy security efforts now and in the future. Electric vehicles operate entirely using batteries to store energy and drive the electric vehicle, without producing dangerous exhaust gases, so they do not require fossil fuels such as gasoline or diesel which are usually used in conventional cars (Aceh Transportation Agency, 2023). Apart from being environmentally friendly, electric vehicles have advantages such as lower operating costs, less maintenance, and good performance. Electric vehicles consist of electric cars, electric motorbikes and electric bicycles.

Realizing the importance of electric vehicles, the Indonesian government has begun to support the use of electric vehicles in Indonesia and is increasing the development of charging station infrastructure through Peraturan Presiden No. 55/2019 concerning the Acceleration of the Battery-Based Electric Motor Vehicle Program. Previously, the population of electric motorbikes reached approximately 10,300 circulating in the community and after the issuance of this Peraturan Presiden, it is hoped that the population of electric motorbikes or electric cars in Indonesia will increase (Ministry of Transportation of the Republic of Indonesia, 2021). Another form of support provided by the government to increase the adoption of electric vehicles is that in 2025 the government plans to provide subsidies for the purchase of electric vehicles to reach 2.5 million electric vehicle users by 2025 and reduce air pollution by 29% by 2030 (Ministry Transportation of the Republic of Indonesia, 2021).

The government’s efforts to increase the use of electric vehicles are of course to support Indonesia’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Indonesia commits reducing carbon emissions by 29 percent by 2030 (Aceh Transportation Agency, 2023). Luckily, the government’s efforts to implement the use of electric vehicles have been welcomed positively by the public. This can be seen from Gaikindo data, where in August 2023 there was an increase in sales volume and interest in purchasing battery-based electric vehicles (BEV) in Indonesia, reaching 1,331 units (Aceh Transportation Agency, 2023). This figure is up 24 percent compared to July 2023, and 30 percent higher than the sales volume in August last year. This is an indicator that the electric vehicle trend in Indonesia in 2023 will develop rapidly compared to previous years.

However, even though public interest in electric vehicles is high and vehicle sales volume continues to increase, there are still challenges that need to be addressed by the government. Complaints that are often expressed by electric vehicle users are regarding charging stations which are still limited in several cities. For big cities such as Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi (Jabodetabek), charging stations are easier to find, but in other cities in Indonesia, they are still limited. Therefore, the government is making efforts to increase the number of charging station points. In this case, the government gives responsibility to PLN as the electricity service provider in Indonesia. Apart from that, another challenge is related to controlling electric bicycle users. It is often found that underage children use electric bicycles and the problem is that they use them on big roads without wearing helmets which can endanger other users. The government needs to re-regulate policies regarding the use of electric vehicles.

The use of electric vehicles in Indonesia can be analyzed using an Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) lens. The concept of ESG first emerged in the 1960s, when awareness about socially responsible investing increased. This was triggered by two main factors, namely increasingly severe environmental degradation, and awareness of social rights. First, from an environmental perspective, the use of electric vehicles certainly has a good impact on the environment, especially in dealing with climate change which is now a global issue. As the use of electric vehicles increases, carbon dioxide gas will decrease.

Second, from a social perspective, the use of electric vehicles can also be seen. As electricity use increases, the hope is that the air quality will get better, meaning it will be free from pollution. Improved air quality will have a positive impact on public health, especially as people in Jakarta often complain about this. There have even been demonstrations regarding air quality in Jakarta which is getting worse and increasingly endangering the public. Apart from that, the use of electric vehicles also has a positive social impact on drivers of transportation services such as Grab, Gojek, and Maxim. Drivers who choose to use electric motorbikes will receive subsidies and cheaper installments, so those who want to register as partners can get relief compared to conventional motorbikes (Grab Indonesia, 2023)l. Maintenance and operational costs are also cheaper, thereby reducing the burden on drivers.

Third, namely the governance aspect, in this aspect the use of electric vehicles has also entered the realm of governance. This can be seen from how the government makes policies such as Peraturan Presiden No. 55/2019 concerning Acceleration of the Battery-Based Electric Motor Vehicle Program. Then in 2023 a new policy emerged, namely Minister of Industry Regulation Number 21 of 2023 concerning Guidelines for Providing Government Assistance for the Purchase of Two-Wheeled KBLB. In this regulation, the Indonesian government officially provides subsidies for the purchase of electric motorbikes worth IDR 7 million (Kurniawan & Ravel, 2023).

From the explanations above, we can understand that electric vehicles will be very useful for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and will encourage efforts to deal with climate change. Electric vehicles are a type of green transportation that is now in great demand by the public and has received a lot of attention from the Indonesian government. Various efforts have been made by the Indonesian government to increase the use of electric vehicles. Through the ESG concept, we can also see that electric vehicles cover these three things. Electric vehicles help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, electric vehicles help transportation service drivers get relief from installments, maintenance and operational costs, and electric vehicles have also been included in governance in Indonesia through policies issued by the government including providing subsidies. The hope is that with the large opportunities and benefits that will be obtained through transportation, hopefully the obstacles that still exist can be immediately addressed.

Heyna Jekaisa
Heyna Jekaisa
Master's student of International Relations at Universitas Gadjah Mada. I have a major interest in environmental issues, international development studies, gender studies, ethnic relations and multiculturalism, and diplomacy.