PH poised as EV manufacturing hub
EVAP Electric Vehicle Summit
The country’s unofficial ‘national vehicle’, the humble jeepney, may receive a major makeover if it were up to the Electric Vehicles Association of the Philippines (EVAP).
Hosting the 3rd Electric Vehicle Summit held at the MERALCO Multipurpose Hall last week, EVAP make it blatantly apparent that the technology is here now, the public demands it, the government is pushing for it and more importantly, the drivers and operators now see it as a win-win situation.
From resistance to acceptance
In 2007 when EVAP, in cooperation with various LGUs, rolled out small, e-jeepney and e-tricycle projects around the country, they encountered some opposition. It was mostly anger towards technology they didn’t understand and the fear of becoming obsolete.
After seven years, the tide has changed. Transport leaders, drivers and operators have become involved in the process of developing the e-jeepneys. They’ve even given advice on the proper height and clearance, seating capacity, proper entry and exit points and even asked for doors to ensure passenger safety and security.
Ready or not, EVs are coming
The two-day summit was comprehensive, detailed and well supported by various sectors showing how tremendously close to reality this is. The venue was teeming with manufacturers and suppliers of e-jeepneys/e-trikes and EV parts showing that the market was already ripe. Experts from various educational institutions (Singapore’s Nanyang Technological Institute, UP, DLSU and ADMU) along with executives from auto manufacturers (Mitsubishi Motors Philippines and Nissan Philippines, Inc.) were there to give input on the engineering aspect and impact it will have on society.
Officials from MERALCO, Department of Energy, Department of Science and Technology and the Energy Regulatory Commission discussed the ‘charging infrastructure’ while the LTO, LTFRB, DOST, Landbank and the Development Bank of the Philippines were already tackling registration and financing.
With the LTFRB mandating the phase-out of 15-year-old jeepneys and the public demanding better, cleaner modes of transportation, these outmoded means of transportation are primed for the ultimate upgrade.
E-jeepney, cheaper in the long run
E-jeepneys cost about P300,000 more than a traditional jeepney but the former brings with it plenty of pros. It requires less maintenance, if any. Teco, in fact, guarantees their electric motors to last for 20 years with little to no maintenance at all. In EVAP’s seven-year history running e-jeepneys in the Makati Green Route, they’ve never had any problems with the electric motor.
An e-jeepney has less moving parts as well, with only about 350 components, reducing the chances of something breaking due to wear and tear. The four main components to watch out for are the electric motor, battery, charger and the power controller.
It costs a lot less to ‘fuel-up’ as well. A study made on e-jeepneys plying the MERALCO compound revealed that savings on fuel is at 49-50 percent. It only takes P50 to ‘power-up’ an e-trike while fossil fueled-counterparts need at least P250.
The overall fuel cost of running an EV, according to EVAP, is comparable to monthly charges of simply running a refrigerator.
Fiscal and non-fiscal incentives
There’s a pending Alternative Fuel Incentives Bill in both Houses of Congress that will provide various incentives to private and public vehicles that can be powered by alternative fuel.
The Department of Finance has also been working on the Fiscal Incentives Bill that will grant incentives to all foreign and local investors in all industries, which, if the proposed EV manufacturing becomes a reality, can benefit from.
Senator Bam Aquino, who was present during the EV Summit, is also working on a bill to grant non-fiscal incentives (preferential parking, priority registration, exemption from number coding, among many others) to electric vehicles.
Any of these bills provide tax, fiscal and non-fiscal incentives that would allow electric vehicle manufacturers to lessen production costs, or at the very least, receive privileged treatment for being kinder to the environment.
EV manufacturing niche
Believe it or not, the Philippines is ahead of its Southeast Asian counterparts when it comes to implementing an e-vehicle public transportation system. According to Jay Huang of Teco Electric and Machinery Co., Ltd, an EV chassis supplier from Taiwan, the presence of an organized jeepney public transport system makes the Philippines an ideal market. EVAP is not only looking at EV sales but also EV manufacturing. In fact, Teco is one company that has plans to put a manufacturing plant in Subic that may one day export EVs globally.
This industry can potentially generate 100,000 jobs from battery makers and suppliers, assemblers, motor manufacturers and suppliers, and parts makers.
If traditional auto manufacturing has been so elusive to us because of competition in the region, this may finally be our niche.
“The Philippines is finally ready for electric vehicles. For the public transport sector, they are ready to convert to electric vehicles now. We are getting a lot of support from the government, private institutions, NGOs and environmental groups. Everybody is for it so it is just a matter of adoption and support,” said Rommel T. Juan, President, Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines.