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EU-Taiwan Electric Vehicle Conference


The ECCT was a co-organiser of the 2022 EU-Taiwan Electric Vehicle Conference together with the European Economic and Trade Office (EETO), the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC), the Industrial Development Bureau (IDB), under the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) and co-organised by the European Business & Regulatory Cooperation Program (EBRC), the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) and the Vehicle Safety Certification Center (VSCC). The event began with opening remarks by Thomas Jürgensen, Deputy Head of the EETO; Wang Kwo-tsai, Minister of the MOTC; Leu Chang-hwa, Director-General of the IDB and ECCT CEO Freddie Höglund. This was followed by a keynote speech by Eric-Mark Huitema, Director-General of the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) and presentations in two further sessions by representatives from government and the private section in the EU and Taiwan. 

Session 1: Keynote speech

Topic: Global EV trends
Speaker: Eric-Mark Huitema, Director-General, European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA)

In his presentation, Eric-Mark Huitema said that the automotive sector employs 30 million workers and generates substantial tax revenues for governments of European member states. It also accounts for the largest share of R&D spending in Europe.

The automotive industry is committed to doing its part to meet the EU’s climate goals set out in various legislation and directives, including the recent Fit for 55 climate package, which includes ambitious carbon reduction targets and the goal to end sales of new Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles by 2035.

Substantial progress has been made, especially over the past few years and is expected to accelerate thanks to new concerns about dependence on other countries for fossil fuels. While sales of EVs are currently much higher in Nordic countries and The Netherlands, across the EU as a whole, about one in five new vehicles sold currently is an EV. 72% of all EVs are sold in just four countries. There is a clear split between eastern and western Europe as well as between the north and south, where only a small number of EVs are being sold currently. In addition, the EU is doing well in improving the efficiency and reducing the CO2 emissions of new ICE vehicles.

Infrastructure is really important because it drives demand for EVs. According to the speaker, there are currently around 310,000 charging stations in Europe but it is estimated that Europe will need around 6.8 million charging units by 2030, a 20-fold increase in less than a decade. This translates into around 14,000 new charging units per week. According to the speaker, the current rate of expansion is only about 2,000 per week, indicating a lot of work needs to be done, especially since 70% of current charging points are in just four countries. This is important because the roll-out of EVs is well ahead of the charging point roll-out and this will cause a charging shortage problem in the future if not addressed. For this reason, he advised the Taiwan government to align the growth rate of EVs with charging roll-out.

Automakers are asking governments for commitments and binding targets for infrastructure. There is also a need to work on ways to improve the affordability of EVs. There is also a need for a just transition, especially for those workers who are providing parts and services for the ICE industry that will become obsolete. Workers must be provided new training and jobs in the EV space.

The speaker referred to the EU charging masterplan (which was compiled with help from McKinsey), working out how much charging infrastructure will be needed for 60 million cars by 2030, which provides a good example for Taiwan to follow.

Finally, the speaker stressed the need for sufficient sources of renewable energy for EV charging.

Session 2: EV infrastructure

Topic: Taiwan’s EV policy and latest EV infrastructure developments
Speaker: Michael Tsao (Chin-wei), Section Chief, Department of Railways & Highways, MOTC

The speaker referred to government plans to replace all city buses with EV versions by 2030 and the government’s plan to be carbon neutral by 2050. He noted that Taiwan is compliant with international EV safety regulations and has imposed specific sets of testing requirements for EVs, which must be met before applying for licencing.

EV sales are rising in Taiwan. The share of newly registered e-buses has risen to 11% while e-passenger cars has seen exponential growth while the number of trucks is still low but rising. This has been helped by subsidies and tax exemptions (commodity, licence and fuel) for EVs.

The government has been subsidising bus operators since 2010. According to the speaker, there are already 900 e-buses on the roads in 17 cities across Taiwan thanks to subsidies and demonstration projects. A 2017 demonstration project reviewed the eligibility of EV manufacturers and operators. Three companies producing five e-bus models passed the first stage and eight projects of 200 units have already been approved. We will see these buses in the second half of 2022. On the path to meeting its target of 100% of city buses EVs by 2030, there is an interim target of 35% by 2025. According to Tsao, the MOTC’s strategy is under review and it will make adjustments to EV subsidies starting next year.

Tsao said that Taiwan’s regulations will be harmonised to encourage the development of EVs. In addition, the government will assist the industry to upgrade manufacturing facilities and reskill manufacturers to produce EV parts and components. Besides the need for a user-friendly environment, the switch to EVs will also require a behavioural shift by OEMs and consumers.

The speaker went on to cite statistics from analysis conducted to estimate how many charging stations will be required for EVs in Taiwan. In order to reach its charging station goals the MOTC has defined relevant locations and will work with the MOEA to mandate public companies to install charging infrastructure and services on their premises and work with private sector providers to set up charging facilities elsewhere.

Topic: EU EV policy and developments in infrastructure
Speaker: Zlatko Kregar, Policy Officer, Unit B4 Sustainable & Intelligent Transport, Directorate General for Mobility & Transport (DG MOVE)

The speaker noted that EU regulations and directives cover at all aspects of EV rollout and that the Fit for 55 package is a set of proposals to revise and update EU legislation and to put in place new initiatives with the aim of ensuring that EU policies are in line with the climate goals agreed by the European Council and the European Parliament. While the package was proposed 11 months ago, it may be adjusted to reduce dependence on Russian oil and gas, which would help to reach climate targets faster. New proposals have been made to induce behavioural changes to reduce the use of oil and gas.

According to the speaker, there has been a surge in zero and low emission vehicles in recent years, including hybrids. Under the European Commission’s proposals, ICE vehicles will be gradually phased out and 100% of new passenger cars and vans will have to be zero emissions vehicles by 2035.

Kregar noted that, besides the emission reductions, impact assessments showed the added benefits of CO2 reductions for all vehicles was less local pollution, especially in urban areas. This will result in enormous cost savings not only in terms of fuel consumption but also healthcare costs.

As for the overall impact on GDP of the EV transition, existing workers in the automotive sector will need reskilling. Huge investments will be needed to enable seamless mobility.

Mandatory targets for infrastructure have been proposed that every member states will need to meet. One target is based on the number of charging points needed based on the number of vehicles. Another target requires that charging stations should be located at least every 60 kilometres on Europe’s major roadways and at least every 100 kilometres on other routes.

Topic: Strategies to develop EV charging capacity in The Netherlands
Speaker: Baerte de Bruy, Vice President, European Association for Electromobility; Chief International Officer, ElaadNL

The speaker reiterated a point made by the previous speaker that reducing pollution is an important driver of demand for EVs, especially in cities with high pollution rates like Rotterdam.

According to the speaker, EVs account for about 5% of the vehicle fleet in The Netherlands but the transition is happening fast as now one in three new vehicles sold are electric. The country targets to replace 100% of buses with electric models by 2025.

The Netherlands currently has 85,000 public and semi-public charging stations. Since seven in 10 households in the country do not have their own driveways, people rely on public chargers. The aim is to have one charger for every five vehicles. In addition, 3,200 fast chargers have been installed as of May 2022 along highways and logistics centres. More will be needed facilitate new and growing sectors like logistics.

The rise in EVs has also coincided with a roll-out of sustainable energy, such as solar rooftops (25% of households have installed solar panels, according to the speaker). Winters in The Netherlands can be cold. Natural gas has been the primary source for heating in the past. However, there is now a shift from natural gas to heat pumps. This will have an impact on the energy grids as demand for electricity to power heat pumps will peak in the winter months while supply from solar PV will peak in the summer months. A holistic solution is needed for the problem. One way to alleviate the situation is to charge a higher price during peak hours. Another solution is to develop EVs so that they can discharge electricity to the grid when not in use to help balance the grid. However, for this to work, a comprehensive nationwide system will need to be built. Some car makers are developing bidirectional EVs.  While they are more expensive to produce, they can also generate revenue for their owners when discharging.

On the question of disruption to the labour market, the speaker expressed the view that e-mobility will create new jobs.

He stressed the importance of standardisation in charging infrastructure before large-scale rollout so that charging points can be used by different car brands.

He concluded that a lot of work remains to be done given that EVs still only account for a small portion of the overall fleet. However, if the roll-out is done smartly, it can help to meet environmental goals and create good new jobs.

Session 2 panel discussion
The session was concluded with a panel discussion moderated by Charles Lin (Chih-kuo), Director-General of the MOTC’s Institute of Transportation. Participants included speakers from the session as well as co-chairs of the ECCT’s Mobility committee, Oliver Britz and Rahil Ansari. In his remarks, Oliver Britz noted that great progress has been made in Taiwan since last year’s EV forum, especially the announcement of a roadmap, although the number of EV sales in Taiwan was still low. Rahil Ansari noted that the consumer perspective was sometimes missing in discussions about the EV transition, saying that it is also important to make EVs more attractive to consumers. Lin noted that affordability rather than range anxiety is more of a hurdle for consumers in Taiwan.

Session 3: EU-Taiwan cooperation

Topic: Status of the EV industry and policy in Taiwan
Speaker: Lin Hua-yu, Director, Metal and Mechanical Industries Division, IDB, MOEA

The speaker noted that subsidies of up to US$330,000 per bus were provided in a recent EV demonstration project. For e-scooters, US$333 were provided and local governments provided up to US$1,000 in subsidies per vehicle. Electric passenger cars were provided tax reductions.

According to Lin, 94,000 electric scooters were sold last year, accounting for an 11.6% market share while e-buses accounted for 15.6% and passenger cars 1.6% of new sales. Taiwan has eight e-scooter manufacturers selling 66 models. Two e-bus manufacturers have received subsidies from the MOTC for demonstration projects.

Taiwan has abundant capacity for EV parts and components, including car body, battery and charging systems, which are already involved in international supply chains. The annual output of the auto electronics industry is already US$10.2 billion and expected to double in the next few years as demand grows and more IT companies move into the automotive field. The speaker went on to cite a number of examples of private sector cooperation between Taiwan European companies to produce items for EVs.

Topic: Innovating energy use with vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology
Speaker: Roger Chen, Director, EnelX Taiwan

As part of the Enel Group, Enel X is focused on decarbonising, digitalising and electrifying energy use with a main focus on demand response and battery storage. The firm is the world’s leading virtual power plant (VPP) and demand response service provider. According to the speaker, the company has already installed 482MW of battery storage and has a target of over 500MW by next year.

He shared a case study of his company’s cooperation with Gogoro. Last year the company began a pilot project to support the integration of more renewable power on electricity grids utilizing Enel X’s VPP platform and Gogoro Network’s battery swapping platform. The project is designed to support the local electricity grid run by Taiwan Power Company (Taipower). Gogoro currently has 2,280 go stations with capacity of 1.3GWh, which is enough to sustain Taipei City. Enel X’s VPP is able to automatically adjust its networks’ power use – including Gogoro’s GoStations – to help protect the grid and maintain stable electricity supply. Gogoro creates value by exporting energy during this time and is compensated by Taipower for the electricity provided. In the same way, businesses with their own renewable energy can also harness the power of V2G when the grid is under stress while also meeting ESG goals and earn revenue from supplying power to the grid.

Topic: Scania electrification
Speaker: Anders Lampinen, Director, E-Truck Solution Management, Scania

Scania aims to both lower its own carbon emissions as well as those of its customers. The company targets 10% of sales to be EVs by 2025. He noted that in many parts of Europe the grid is not strong enough for the anticipated EV rollout, which will necessitate public-private cooperation and investments.  

The speaker went on to talk about a number of its EVs that have been launched, including a postal service vehicle in the arctic region and those used in the food retail business. The company has also introduced vehicles for the mining sector, which are ideal for short routes. This has attracted great interest from Australia.

The company has more than 100 plants running globally. Sales are the highest in Norway thanks to strong government focus and helped by subsidies as well as the fact that Northern Europe has access to relatively cheap hydropower. The company is about to launch its first garbage collectors in Singapore and has demonstration projects in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

The speaker stressed that incentives are very important in the first phase until the supply chain is ramped up. Even more important is a harmonisation of the homologation process. Cities like Copenhagen and Paris have set the standard for other cities.

Topic: Mobility in Harmony
Speaker: Eric Huang, Technical Development Advisor, MIH Consortium

The speaker introduced the MIH Consortium, which aims to transform the mobility industry by creating a platform and open eco-system together with partners. Its open platform covers both hardware and software. The consortium already has over 2,000 members (75% of which are in software), including new EV brands in the US, Europe, India and Thailand. He cited trends in EV industry showing how the value of software as a portion of the vehicle will rise to 60% by 2030. The consortium has 14 working groups focused on various aspects of EVs. As part of its five-year plan, it has already provided reference designs to members with the aim to reach mass production by 2025.

Inventec’s vision for automotive electronics
Speaker: Li Lino, Vice President, Inventec Automotive Electronics

The speaker cited analysis from PWC which estimated that auto electronics already account for 35% of the value of vehicles and is expected to rise to 50% by 2030, including batteries and infotainment.

According to the speaker, traditionally, the automotive ecosystem has been very closed, which makes it difficult for newcomers to enter. This means that companies like Inventec have needed to work especially hard to enter the market. The company now produces 100 million devices a year, of which only about two million are for the automotive industry. However, future prospects are bright if, as expected, the future car will be like a computing unit, given the trend towards autonomous driving. The rise in auto electronics is also a key driver for the semiconductor business as well as for the software business. The speaker stressed that Inventec is not interested in making cars or competing with European car makers, which are its customers, but will instead work with them and other partners in the electronics and software sector to make devices for future vehicles.

Final panel discussion
Session 3 ended with panel discussion moderated by Dr Chang Pei-zen, EVP of ITRI. Panellists included speakers from the session as well as Mohit Tyagi, Technical Affairs Director from ACEA. In his remarks Tyagi stressed the need for a harmonisation of standards in order to speed up the EV transition and increase innovation and new technologies. Speakers noted that it is inevitable that standards for automotive parts and devices are much higher given the need for safe mobility. Therefore, it is not reasonable for companies making devices or providing software for vehicles to expect to adopt the same mindset as they do for making consumer products. Nevertheless, Taiwanese companies should be confident that with the right mindset and efforts, they can repeat their success of the PC era in the future mobility space. They also reiterated the importance of having a stable electricity supply and grid.