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The normalization of data is an essential ingredient to mass market EV

Article by Abhijit Sengupta, Senior Director and Head of Business for Southeast Asia and India, HERE Technologies

With traffic congestion being a frequent pain point in many Southeast Asian countries, electric vehicles (EVs) have become the solution to tackling congestion and pollution by offering environmental-friendly and sustainable modes of transportation.

As a result, interest in EVs has been growing across Southeast Asia in recent years. According to research, the EV market in Southeast Asia is expected to register a compound annual growth rate of 32.73% between 2022 and 2027 .

The uptake in EVs has also been bolstered by an increase in charging infrastructure and government policies to encourage the adoption of EVs in the region. However, having the right infrastructure alone is not enough to achieve mass EV adoption. Automakers, technology solution providers and governments need to work more closely together to ensure that they are keeping up with EVs drivers’ demands.

Feeding the appetite of EV drivers

A recent study done in the United States states that consumers purchase EVs for a variety of reasons such as environmental protection, cost savings and convenience. While environmental protection is a given and cost savings is relative to the type of EVs being purchased, let’s dive deeper into what it means to be convenient of EV drivers.

EV drivers everywhere want to know:

  1. How far can my EV go with the amount of juice left in it?
  2. Where can I charge up when I need to?
  3. How much does it cost to charge up?
  4. How long does it take to charge up?

Essentially, information data is what EV drivers want at their fingertips.

Abhijit Sengupta, Senior Director and Head of Business for Southeast Asia and India, HERE Technologies

However, the different types of data are more often than not represented in different formats or on different platforms, making it inconvenient for an EV driver to have all the information in one plate. Moreover, the data can sometimes appear to be inaccurate or presented in a poor user interface, resulting in a poor EV driving experience.

For instance, incomplete location data could direct EV drivers to a charging station that is either not working, does not exist, or worst – not being able to navigate drivers accurately. Furthermore, the lack of or inaccurate information on how far an EV can go on a single charge often leads to EV range anxiety – the fear of running out of power while driving an EV and not being able to find a charging point.

These challenges call for the need to make data accessible for all, in a normalized, secure, intuitive and safe manner without distracting EV drivers from their driving. To do that, EV automotive OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), charging-technology providers, map providers, operators, utilities, and other players within the EV ecosystem must employ the same format of data to enhance the overall EV driving experience.

The taste of normalized EV data

The good thing is that automakers are already aware that this needs to be done and some have already started to do so by diversifying their portfolios through partnerships.

For instance, in Singapore, the government is developing a single platform and partnering with multiple EV charging operators to aggregate and display key information of charging facilities. The Land Transport Authority says that this feature will be within the existing MyTransport.SG mobile app as part of a new module, and EV drivers can benefit from information such as real-time charging point availability in the future .

In Indonesia, Gojek and PT TBS Energi Utama Tbk (TBS), a leading integrated energy company in the country, has announced a joint venture known as Electrum, to develop infrastructure for two-wheel EVs throughout Indonesia . The two companies will collaborate to establish a comprehensive and scalable electric vehicle ecosystem, including two-wheel EV manufacturing, battery packaging, battery swap infrastructure, and financing for EV ownership.

By consolidating data in a normalized format within a unified technology platform, EV adoption will be able to move to mainstream adoption at scale. In the same vein, different type of companies such as payment provides can also be involved to make the EV charging experience more seamless and convenient.

Serving a better EV driving experience

The shift towards electromobility has already begun within Southeast Asia. According to the International Energy Agency, Indonesia has one of the world’s higher ratios of chargers to EVs in 2020, with the goal to build approximately 31,000 charging stations by 2030.

Thailand, on the other hand, has ambitions to be an EV production hub in Southeast Asia. The country aims to transform 50% of its total auto production to EVs by 2030. One of the ways to achieve that goal is through new incentives released by the Thai government that includes a significant exemption in import duty and excise tax for a wide range of EV models.

However, for EVs to go mainstream in the region, the different technologies involved within the EV ecosystem need to ‘talk’ the same language. This starts from normalizing and analyzing disparate data sets for further analysis, ensuring that data can be easily consumed by others.


(The views in this article is that of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Tech Wire Asia)