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Call for Proposals: Electric Vehicles in ASEAN: Total Cost of Ownership, Externalities, and Sustainable Strategies

Call for Proposals: Electric Vehicles in ASEAN: Total Cost of Ownership, Externalities, and Sustainable Strategies
14 July 2023

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The Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) is extending an invitation for research proposals pertaining to the theme of 'Electric Vehicles in ASEAN: Total Cost of Ownership, Externalities, and Sustainable Strategies'. The selected research proposals will be funded by the ERIA research project on the very theme in fiscal year 2023-2024.

ERIA, an international organization established by the 16 member countries of the East Asia Summit (EAS), aims to contribute intellectually to the regional endeavors of ASEAN Community building and East Asia economic integration. Its primary role involves offering policy analyses and recommendations to Leaders and Ministers during key regional meetings, including the ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting, EAS Energy Ministers Meeting (EMM), ASEAN Summit, and the EAS.

Research teams, groups, institutions, or individual researchers, hereafter to be called “Contractors”, are invited to submit their research proposals via email to Alloysius Joko Purwanto ([email protected]) no later than Monday, 7 August 2023. Early submission is strongly encouraged.

Authors will receive notification regarding the decision on proposal selection no later than 18 August 2023.

1. Subject of Research 

Electric Vehicles in ASEAN: Total Cost of Ownership, Externalities, and Sustainable Strategies

2. Background and Objective of the Research

Electric vehicles are growingly believed to be one of the silver bullets to remedy many issues in ASEAN, e.g., energy security, climate change, environmental, as well as economic downturn, whilst there are still so many issues to discuss.

Suehiro and Purwanto (2019 and 2021) stated that unless the power generation mix in ASEAN Member States does not experience significant penetration of renewables, then massive penetration of EVs would contribute nothing to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon footprints of manufacturing EVs and their batteries are also problematic. Manufacturing of electric vehicles in China emits about 13 metric tons (MT) of carbon dioxide (CO2), including  battery manufacturing, compared to 10.5 MT CO2 emitted by internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle manufacturing (Qiao, et al., 2019). Not to mention lithium mining in the other parts of the world that has clear environmental downside, laterite nickel mined in Indonesia, for example, needs an energy intensive process of high-pressure acid leach (HPAL) to be transformed into an intermediate product before further used as cathode material in batteries. Furthermore, the end-of-life of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries raise not-yet-answered environmental issues.

The supply chain of EVs and their batteries are not simple. A big investment is haunted by a failure risk in one of the chains.

Currently, Indonesia and Viet Nam have started to manufacture and sell electric powered-2- wheelers but none of the ASEAN member states has started to produce electric cars at commercial level. Conventional car manufacturers start to invest in Indonesia and Thailand to build their electric car plants as well as some private companies who are building consortium to manufacture them.

In the meantime, Indonesia and Thailand have a plan to establish battery manufacturing plants in a short-term horizon to primarily support their to-be-born EV industry. Now, most EV battery production in Asia is dominated by China who procures most of the needed critical minerals domestically, except for nickel (from Indonesia), cobalt (from Congo) and some parts of lithium (from Russia).

Finally, the penetration of EVs will need deployment of charging infrastructures. The number and distribution of these infrastructures require well-defined strategy and plan with a clear objective which is bargain between the cost minimization of constructing and running the infrastructures and the cost minimization from the user point of view, i.e., distance to the charging and the queueing time at the infrastructure.

This study aims at assessing the following aspects of EV in ASEAN: (i) total costs of ownership, (ii) global warming potential, (iii) potential environmental impacts, (iv) strategies for a sustainable EV ecosystem, and (v) the development of production networks.

The study shall cover not only the electric vehicle operation, fueling, its fabrication, and scrapping, but also charging installation deployment, battery fabrication including critical mineral mining extraction, processing, until recycling or repurposing or waste management of those batteries when they reached their end-of-life and propose a working framework to build strategies for a sustainable EV ecosystem. The study shall cover the Association of Southeast Asia Countries (ASEAN) region and deal with electric cars and powered electric two wheelers (e- motorbikes).

3. Topics of research 

To support the study, ERIA decides to release 4 (four) topics of research in this Call for Proposal where Contractors can choose to build their and submit their research proposal:

3.1. Total costs of ownership (TCO) analysis of Electric Vehicles in ASEAN

TCO analysis should provide a set of estimates of the TCO of the different EV types consisting of electric cars and electric powered-2-wheelers differentiated into different classes or categories in the different ASEAN countries. TCO should include capital and operational costs of the vehicles. The capital costs include the price to acquire the vehicle, as well as all fees and taxes related to the acquisition of the vehicles. Operational costs must include electricity costs, maintenance & repair costs, and all fees & taxes related to the operation. The estimate of the TCO should be calculated for all the electric vehicles acquired from 2018 to 2022 in each ASEAN country, considering the estimated average yearly mileage, average vehicle lifetime, and reasonable discount rate. While focus is given to the electric vehicles, the same estimated variables from the comparable internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles categories and classes must be given as benchmarks or references of the analysis.

3.2. Potential global warming potential and environmental impacts of electric vehicles and batteries in ASEAN

This study should provide an estimate of global warming and environmental impacts of electric vehicles in ASEAN using life-cycle analysis (LCA) which cover all potential impacts since the mining of the material, the fabrication of the vehicle, the use of the vehicles, and the waste impacts of the scrapped vehicles. The study must cover the different EV types consisting of electric cars and electric powered-2-wheelers differentiated into different classes or categories.

This study should also provide an estimate of global warming and environmental impacts of electric vehicle batteries in ASEAN using life-cycle analysis (LCA) which cover all potential impacts since the mining and processing of the material, e.g., HPAL process’ toxic production waste in Indonesia’s nickel processing, the fabrication of the batteries, the use of the vehicles, and the waste impacts of the scrapped batteries. The study must cover the different EV battery types distinguished into the different cathode chemistry types, capacity, and use (such as fixed versus swab batteries).

3.3.  Power and charging infrastructure investment requirements for adopting EV in ASEAN

EV charging poses a substantial challenge to the power infrastructure of ASEAN countries. This can be further decomposed into the issue of infrastructure investment required, business model, financing, grid reliability and safety, policy options, standards harmonization among ASEAN member countries, and so on. The study is expected to identify the most challenging issues in this regard in the ASEAN context, provide analytical results with models, and derive policy implications accordingly.

3.4. Strategies for sustainable nickel mining and processing in ASEAN

The combination of a series of nickel ore export bans and foreign domestic investment in building nickel mining and processing industry are the key elements of Indonesia’s current success in developing its nickel industry to play an important role in the world EV ecosystem. Apart from Indonesia, the Philippines is another ASEAN countries that has important reserve of nickel. The study aims at first, analyzing and assessing this current Indonesia’s model from the economic and sustainability perspective, second, based on Indonesia’s case and the Philippines’s potential, elaborating strategies for sustainable nickel mining and processing in ASEAN.

4. Proposals

ERIA calls for detailed research proposals for each of the above-listed parts, i.e. one proposal for one topic of the above points 3.1 to 3.4. For each topic there will be only one selected Contractor. However, a Contractor can submit proposals to more than one topic and can be selected to perform research on more than one topic.

A Term of Reference (ToR), as part of the contract, will be developed based on the proposal should the proposal be selected and accepted.

Each Contractor will get a budget of not more than USD 9,000* to conduct the study using the following possible methods: (i) bibliography studies, (ii) data collection, (iii) quantitative analysis, and (iv) surveys and interviews.

*Please note that as an international organization, ERIA is exempt from value added tax (VAT).

Submitted research proposals should be about 5 to 8 pages long and each proposal that must contain the following parts:

  • Research question(s);
  • Objective and background;
  • Brief literature review;
  • Description of data and methodology;
  • Expected value added;
  • Policy relevance;
  • References.

5. Originality and Publication

The research should be an original one. The final report will be included in an edited project report which will be submitted to ERIA. Some of the completed research papers may be posted as working papers for the ERIA Discussion Paper series. As an outcome, a handbook / special journal issue on energy policies related to electric vehicle topics could be published.

6. Research Project Leader

The study will be coordinated by:

  • Shigeru Kimura, ERIA Special Advisor on Energy Affairs, as project supervisor and advisor
  • Alloysius Joko Purwanto, ERIA Energy Economist, as project coordinator
  • Yanfei Li, ERIA Research fellow, as academic leader
  • Citra Endah Nur Setyawati and Ryan Wiratama Bhaskara, both ERIA Research Associates, as project research associates

7. Expected Timeline

NoActivity Date

Launching 4 calls for proposal

1st week of July-23


Proposal submission

1st week of July 2023 – 7 August 2023


Selection process

8 August-23 to 18 August-23


Online kick-off meeting

1st week of September-23


Online progress meeting 1

4th week of October-23


Online progress meeting 2

1st week of February-24


Online final meeting

1st week of April-24


Report publication



Papers in journal publication














8. References 

Suehiro S. and A. J. Purwanto, 2019,’ Study on Electric Vehicle Penetrations’ Influence on 3Es in ASEAN’, ERIA Research Project 2018 no. 06, Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia, Jakarta, https://www.eria.org/publications/study-on-electric-vehicle-penetrations-influence-on-3es-in-asean/  (as accessed 4 July 2023)

Suehiro S. and A. J. Purwanto, 2020, ‘The Influence on Energy and the Economy of Electrified Vehicle Penetration in ASEAN’, ERIA Research Project 2020 no. 14, Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia, Jakarta, https://www.eria.org/publications/the-influence-on-energy- and-the-economy-of-electrified-vehicle-penetration-in-asean/ (as accessed 4 July 2023)

Qiao, Q., F. Zhao, Z. Liu, X. He, H. Hao, 2019, ‘Life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of Electric Vehicles in China: Combining the vehicle cycle and fuel cycle’, Energy, Volume 177, 2019, Pages 222-233, ISSN 0360-5442, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.energy.2019.04.080 (as accessed 4 July 2023)

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