In one city in Papua, electric vehicles are not a novelty. In fact, residents have been using electric motorcycles for 15 years.
According to transportation observer and UNIKA (Catholic University) Soegijapranata Civil Engineering academic Djoko Setijowarno, residents in Agats City, Asmat Regency, South Papua Province, are used to riding electric motorcycle. Djoko said they have been using electric vehicles since 2007. The reason is because fuel oil (BBM) is scarce.
“The limitation of getting fuel was one of the obstacles at that time,” said Djoko.
He said, that Agats City is an example of an area with difficulty in fuel distribution but has not insisted on the usage of fuel motorcycles. Instead, they were willing to switch to using electric motor bikes.
“The central government can give an award to Asmat Regency for helping reduce the fuel usage,” he said.
Djoko continued, Indonesia is experiencing an energy crisis, especially fuel. As much as 80 percent of subsidised fuel goes to transport users. Indonesia also imports 50 percent more fuel than it needs. “It is time to get rid of the fuel subsidy,” he said.
“For regions in Indonesia that have difficulty distributing fuel, they can follow the example of Asmat Regency by using electric vehicles. The cost of transporting and distributing fuel can be saved. It is better to develop electric vehicles in areas where it is difficult to get fuel. Electric vehicles can be used for local transport,” said Djoko.
While the government plans to subsidise electric vehicles, Djoko continued, it should not be given to consumers of electric vehicles in urban areas, especially in Java.
“Give it to areas that face difficulty getting fuel, it is advisable that their citizens use electric vehicles for local mobility,” he said.
“In urban areas, electric vehicle subsidies are provided to improve public transport by using electric buses,” he continued.