Range is probably the biggest reason why a lot of Filipinos have not yet switched to electric mobility. On a single charge, a typical electric scooter or motorcycle will have a 70 to 80-kilometer range, at the most, making these electric mobility devices impractical for the daily mileage needs of Juan Dela Cruz. Additionally, our government has yet to come up with a plan to make electric two-wheel mobility a practical choice for Filipinos.

Our neighbor, Indonesia, has a different approach and plans to put 2 million electric two-wheelers out on the local streets by 2025 as part of the country’s mission to zero emissions.

“The number of motorcycle users in Indonesia is around 133 million. There are about five million requests coming in every year, while the number even reached 10 million before the pandemic,’ said Indonesian Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi.

By tapping on Indonesia’s 133 million two-wheel population, the country’s transition to electric mobility is seen as a game changer and may also become the fastest way to its zero emissions goal.

“The market is huge, and this can become a game changer to accelerate the transition,” said Budi and added that a lot of countries have agreed to reduce emission levels by 29% by 2030 and reach zero emissions by 2060. 

In order to achieve this, Budi said the country must first ensure the production of good quality batteries for this purpose. Second, the country must increase the number of charging stations/battery swap stations to make riding electric two-wheelers practical, and third, Indonesia must ensure the manufacture of good quality electric motors.

Using electric two-wheel mobility brings another advantage to Indonesia: savings.

“We hope that this subsidy will decrease along with the increasing number of electric vehicle users. We can use the money from fuel subsidies to build this nation,” Budi said relating to the government subsidies on fuel. This means that the fewer fossil fuel-dependent vehicles on Indonesian roads, the fewer subsidies the government will have to pay, and can divert those funds to more urgent matters, according to the official.

Battery swapping

To reduce charging time and make the use of two-wheel electric mobility practical, companies like KTM, Piaggio, Honda, and Yamaha formed a pact with the goal of establishing a system where future electric motorcycles share a common platform for swappable batteries.

Now, after just one year, the 4-member Swappable Batteries Motorcycle Consortium (SBMC) is now a big 21-member powerhouse, making practical use of electric motorcycles more feasible and practical in the near future.

Like Indonesia, our government could start tapping into the country’s motorcycle-riding population, which according to statistics, is 18 million. Imagine, if our government could encourage a big portion of the motorcycle community to switch to electric mobility through programs with huge benefits to the riders, then our country’s greenhouse emissions would also be reduced to huge levels by 2030.