Southeast Asia is the world's third-largest two-wheeler market. In Indonesia, the most populous country in the region, the biggest ride-hailing service operator, Gojek, plans to replace all two-wheelers with electric motorbikes by 2030.
A 25-year-old Gojek driver in Jakarta recently changed his gasoline-powered two-wheeler to an e-motorbike made by Taiwan's Gogoro. He used to spend 100,000 rupiahs (USD 6.56) every few days on gasoline, but the cost has now roughly halved.
Electric motorbike usage is gaining steam in Indonesia, Southeast Asia's biggest two-wheeler market, with annual sales exceeding 5 million.
Gojek aims to replace all its two-wheelers with e-motorbikes by 2030. The company reportedly has more than 2 million registered drivers of motorbikes and automobiles. This plan is expected to significantly contribute to the Indonesian government's goal of having 9 million electric motorcycles on the road by 2030.
Gojek is expanding its procurement of e-motorbikes. It has founded the Electrum joint venture to produce electric motorcycles and signed a collaborative agreement with Gogoro. Construction on a plant in West Java began in late June, and Electrum is expected to set an initial production goal of 250,000 units annually.
On the other hand, Gojek’s major rival, the Singapore-based ride-hailing firm Grab, is also pushing for the adoption of e-motorbikes in various countries to achieve net zero emissions by 2040.
In Malaysia, Grab will encourage its 80,000 drivers to use electric motorcycles from Chinese brand Blue Shark, produced by a subsidiary of auto parts producer EP Manufacturing with whom it has partnered. In Thailand, Grab plans to increase the ratio of EVs to 10% of the total by 2026.
The introduction of e-motorbikes is accelerating due to the increasing need for decarbonize and the cost of adoption and maintenance being nearly equivalent to that of gasoline-fueled vehicles.
According to Nomura Research Institute, e-motorbikes are cost-comparable to gasoline vehicles when considering a daily travel distance of about 150 km, which is the average distance traveled by commercial vehicle drivers, and as such, they are not seen as a big financial burden.
Furthermore, electricity bills in Southeast Asian countries are lower than those in developed countries, partly because Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia are rich in natural gas, coal and other resources.
The market size of mobility-as-a-service in Southeast Asia is expected to grow by about 30% from 2022 to reach $29.1 billion in 2027, according to Statista. Active players in delivery services include Gojek, Line Man and Grab.
E-motorcycles are currently not widely used for commuting and other daily purposes but are mainly utilized by those who travel long distances, such as food delivery drivers, especially in urban areas, according to Akira Miyakoshi, an expert in the two-wheeler market of Japan External Trade Organization.