The Rise of Electric Vehicles in the Philippines

Electric vehicles

Electric vehicles were introduced in the country in 2008, but it is only now that the industry is getting so much support from government and interest from investors. Pretty soon, roads of Metro Manila and major urban centers in the country will be abuzz with electric Jeepneys, tricycles, and bikes, just like what is prevailing in the most advanced countries of the world.

“It is definitely picking up. In early February, a Nissan Futures event reported a Frost & Sullivan market survey which showed the acceptance of e-vehicles in the Asian market to be high with the Philippines posting the highest acceptability to e-vehicles,” reported incoming president Edmund Araga of the Electric Vehicles Association of the Philippines and president of ECLIMO Philippines Inc., a major supplier of e-tricycles in the country.

He said that two recent government policies have roused the sector from “forced hibernation” and revved it up: These are the TRAIN (tax reform for acceleration and inclusion) which exempts e-vehicles from excise taxes and the PUV modernization program, particularly for mass transport. 

With gasoline and diesel prices expected to spiral soon, this would force people to think seriously of buying electric cars or using PUV run by electric engines, Araga added.

Electric vehicles

Climate change response

 E-vehicles began in the country in 2008 starting with electric Jeepneys on the Makati green route. QEV said its slow uptake was due to the lack of supporting charging infrastructure.

 With the growing awareness for governments to take action in response to climate change, QEV worldwide seeks to slash carbon emissions brought about by the transportation sector in emerging countries such as the Philippines.

 Meanwhile, Shell, spurred by the increasing popularity and the fast transition of car fleets from combustion engines to electric, has put up electric vehicle charging stations in other countries, mainly in the Netherlands and Great Britain.

 The agreement was signed in the presence of Secretary of the Department of Energy Alfonso G. Cusi, along with Undersecretary Jess Posadas and Assistant Secretary Gerardo Erguiza, Jr. 


Government support

 He said the government agencies (which previously were indifferent towards e-vehicles) are now the ones helping the industry such as the TRAIN program exempting them from excise tax and the PUV modernization program, where e- vehicles are being asked to participate actively to supply a portion of the 200,000 PUV replacements for the next three years. He admits though that the industry can supply at best less than 10 percent of this actual market requirement per year.

 He reported that membership of EVAP has increased substantially and more are getting into the industry. For instance, investors are now looking at the charging stations to be spread around the country. “I for one put up a charging station right here at NET LIMA in the Burgos Circle of the Bonifacio Global City for e-vehicles (like cars and e-trikes).


Charging stations

 Where there are electric vehicles operating, there certainly would be one or more charging stations around. “They are not as noticeable as the regular gasoline stations and in other countries where e-vehicles are very visible, unlike in our country. But it is rapidly picking up,” he attests.

 He said charging stations have been set up in Boracay (the Visayas), Coron (Palawan), Batangas, La Union and so many others. Metro Manila has the most number of charging stations. 

 In November 2017, QEV Philippines Electromobility Solutions and Consulting Group, Inc. (of the Abotizes) signed an agreement with Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. to install the first electric vehicle charging posts to boost the adoption of electric cars in the country.

 The agreement aims to install fast charging infrastructure in 100 areas as initial pilot sites to be supplied by ABB, the Swiss multinational company specializing in robotics power and automation technology.

 Also last November, SM Supermall, the country’s largest shopping mall chain, signed an agreement with QEV Philippines to put up electric vehicle charging stations around the country starting February 2018.

 “The installation of EV charging infrastructure will support the proliferation of the EV industry as well as aid QEV’s mission to reduce carbon emissions and make use of a more sustainable source of energy in order to have cleaner and greener cities,” QEV Philippines said in a statement.

 The signing with SM Malls followed QEV Philippines and Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp.’s agreement to put up ABB e-vehicle fast chargers at Shell gasoline stations starting December.

  “SM mall-goers may have access to these charging stations to plug in compatible e-vehicles as early as February 2018,” QEV said.

 QEV Philippines plans to put up more than 200 EV charging stations nationwide with the help of location partners before 2022 to support the proliferation of the EV industry.

 QEV is also in talks with the Ayala Group to put up e-jeepney charging stations in their facilities.

 The charging posts will be supplied by ABB, the Swiss multinational company specializing in robotics power and automation technology areas.

 Current EVAP president Rommel Juan said that just recently, Mitsubishi launched a charging station right at the DENR office in Quezon City and in the DTI office in Makati. Metro Manila has the most number of charging stations for electric vehicles.


PUV modernization

Juan said the EVAP members, and his company PhUV (a conglomeration of many vehicle and parts manufacturers) will be producing Jeepneys that would be used for the modernization program, funding of which will come from a loan from either the Land Bank of the Philippines or the Development Bank of the Philippines—with some government subsidy to help the drivers/operators cope with the cost of acquiring new electric Jeepneys.

The requirement for the modernization program is initially at 200,000 vehicles but we can be happy even to supply even 7 to 8 percent of that.

 The target cost per E-Jeepney is P1.4 million which is actually acceptable already as this is the mandated cost of LBP and DBP—funders of the project. The requirement for PUV modernization program is 200,000 in three years but we are targeting at most 10 percent, Juan said.

 An EV is quiet and has no exhaust because it is run by an electric engine while the Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicle requires an exhaust (Tambucho) and muffler.  The EV requires only 350 moving parts while the regular ICE vehicle has 3, 500 moving parts. The electric vehicle runs on motor part, which like electric fan lasts 20 years. This will change the landscape of the automotive industry because the service of dealerships might be questioned, Rommel Juan said.

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