On the international stage, there’s no denying Asia has often been on the cutting edge of technology and the energy transition.
Last year, Chinese electric vehicle company BYD overtook Tesla to become the world’s biggest seller of EVs. At the same time, scientists at Dongguk University discovered a new way to generate green fuel from water.
And much more is still coming down the pipeline: Battery swapping, the potential of sodium-ion batteries, and green investments are just a few of the recent stories emerging from the region.
Here is a rundown of some of the Asian energy transition initiatives making waves on a global scale.
Battery swapping company Gogoro unveiled its new flagship Smartscooter – Pulse. Pulse is a redesign of previous Smartscooter models from the company and includes a hyperdrive powertrain that can reach 32 mph in just over three seconds.
It also contains a Smart Cockpit dashboard with a 10.25-inch panoramic display with features and services like ride modes, turn-by-turn navigation, and Gogoro GoStation locations.
"Gogoro has been widely recognized for its contribution to the transformation of the urban two-wheel industry with its integration of innovation, performance, and design that creates a smart new electric user experience," said Horace Luke, Founder and CEO of Gogoro. "The Pulse introduces a riding experience that utilizes our latest innovations in electric performance and aerodynamic efficiency with advanced lighting and an immersive interactive user experience."
History was also made by Chinese automaker Great Wall Motor (GWM) as it became the first Chinese Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) to mass produce electric vehicles outside of China.
The journey began in November 2020 when the company purchased a factory in Rayong, Thailand. By May 2021, the company was successfully producing its hybrid EVs at the factory.
Part of GWM’s projected global success has been through its battery spinoff – S-VOLT – which will be the primary battery supplier for the GWM Ora 03 starting in the first half of 2024. The capacity of this Thailand factory is about 60,000 battery packs per year.
GWM has largely supported EV growth in Thailand by constructing and integrating its charging network. The Thai-built Ora 03 has also been a large success in the country, delivering over 10,000 units so far.
In the battery world, ProLogium Technology opened its factory in Taoke, Taiwan, making history as the first giga-scale, solid-state lithium ceramic battery facility in the world. The factory, which has a planned capacity of 2 GWh, can supply batteries for up to 26,000 electric vehicles annually. Production began in 2023, and the batteries are expected to ship globally.
Alongside helping to advance ProLogium’s technology, the Taoke plant also serves as a test run for another ProLogium location in Dunkirk, France. The company was recently included in France 2030, the country’s $68.2 billion plan to transform key sectors of its economy.
“ProLogium has put Taiwan on France’s map and put France on Taiwan’s map,” said Franck Paris, Director of the French Office in Taipei. “The French government will provide full support to ProLogium. Today’s grand opening is significant not just about business but also represents the potential of Taiwan-France cooperation and our role as leaders in the global green economy."
Another first came from China, where Farasis Energy had its first electric vehicle powered by its sodium-ion batteries roll off the line.
Made with a layered oxide and carbon structure, the batter has an energy density of 140 to 160Wh/kg and maintains more than 91% discharge capacity retention at -4°F. Its cycle life is also appropriate for both passenger and two-wheel vehicles.
Despite the battery only rolling out in December 2023, the company already has plans for its next two ramp-ups: a second-gen battery with a projected energy density of 160 to 180Wh/kg later this year and one with 180 to 200Wh/kg in 2026 for wider uses.
Gogoro is partnering with Latin American energy company Copec to bring battery swapping and Smartscooters to Chile and Columbia later this year. This marks the first time this kind of network will be available in the region. The stations will launch at Copec locations as well as those of its subsidiary, Terpel, in Santiago, Chile, and Bogota, Columbia.
Copec operates the largest EV charging network in South America, with more than 1,100 miles of extension along Chile. Gogoro’s Taiwan network supports nearly 600,000 riders and 12,000 battery-swapping stations at more than 2,500 locations.
Vietnam will be the testing grounds for an agreement between the British International Investment, the UK's development finance institution and impact investor, and the Asian Development Bank, the regional development bank for Asia and the Pacific. The two entities will finance up to $100 million in green transactions for the region, including imports such as solar panels, EVs, and wind turbines.
The partnership aims to fill a gap in energy transition finance and climate projects that local banks can’t cover. The risk-sharing agreement will give international banks the confidence to increase financing support to local banks. The first nation to benefit will be Vietnam, before expanding to other countries.
In India, sustainable energy and EV company Erisha E Mobility has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Gujarat government. It details a collaborative effort to “explore, develop, and implement” renewable energy solutions focusing on green hydrogen production and establishing an EV park to deploy 100 charging hubs across the region.
The proposed park would comprise 320 acres and become a hub for research and development to foster EV growth. On the green hydrogen side, the company, with its European partners, wants to create an ecosystem using renewable energy sources.
In total, Erisha E Mobility will invest $830 million into the projects and help create 9,000 direct and indirect jobs.
“We are excited to partner with the Gujarat Government in their mission to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles,” said Dr. Darshan Rana, chairman and managing director of Erisha E Mobility. “Our expertise in electric mobility solutions, combined with the government’s commitment to sustainability, will undoubtedly create a positive impact on the environment, accelerate the adoption of Green Hydrogen, and drive economic growth.”