Cambodia is actively promoting the use of electric vehicles (EVs) through a dual approach: by drafting comprehensive legislature to effectively manage and develop the sector, and by responding to the steadily increasing import of the vehicles. 

The initiative marks an important step towards modernising the country’s transportation landscape and promoting sustainable practices.

Pov Maly, secretary of state at the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, emphasised the vital role of the private sector in advancing the country’s EV sector at the official launch of AION Cambodia’s new Y Plus car on December 2. 

He explained that the surge in EV usage is due to people recognising their benefits over internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. 

He noted that through the ministry, the government is enhancing and broadening support infrastructure, such as establishing more EV charging kiosks in the capital and provinces.

The country currently has 18 locations with 23 EV charging kiosks, aimed at facilitating the use of the vehicles in provinces, remote areas and along major national roads.

“The ministry recently led the Inter-Ministerial Technical Committee (IMTC) to draft regulations, laws, policies and national strategies for the management and development of EVs. The efforts are to prepare legal documents that support and encourage [their] affordable use, ensuring they can be widely used in the future,” he stated.

Tan Monivann, president of the Cambodia Automotive Industry Federation (CAIF), told The Post that EVs offer more advantages than disadvantages, noting that they are particularly beneficial for those looking to contribute to environmental protection. 

“In some developed countries, e-buses have already started operating to maintain a sustainable environment. The use of public transport has increased in recent years. This trend is likely to continue as more people become concerned about environmental issues and climate change. It’s an excellent opportunity to promote the use of EVs, which offer numerous benefits,” he said.

To encourage the adoption of EVs, the government decided to cut the import tax on the vehicles by approximately 50 per cent in early 2023.

Former public works minister Sun Chanthol, who currently serves as deputy prime minister and first vice-president of the Council for the Development of Cambodia, stated in March that the strategy aims to boost the use of EVs and reduce pollution from ICEs. He noted that traditional vehicles remain subject to an import duty of up to 120%.

In January alone, 132 EVs were registered, bringing the total number to 794, including 408 cars, 355 tricycles and 31 motorcycles. This marks an increase from the 662 registered by the end of 2022 and a substantial increase from the 63 registered by the end of 2021, representing an approximate 95 per cent uptick, as per the ministry.