Electric vehicles take the fast lane to promote green mobility


    Two years ago, the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA)—the Paris-based organization that governs all four-wheeled motor sport worldwide— initiated a motorcar racing class exclusively for vehicles running on electric motors: the FIA Formula E Championship.

    According to the Formula E website, the race is meant to represent the “vision for the future of the motor industry,” which is to serve as a framework for further research and development on the electric vehicle, and thus promote clean energy and sustainable motoring.

    Inaugurated in Beijing in September 2014, the Formula E Series participants drive single-seater fully electric motor vehicles. It was the first Electric Grand Prix in the world and gained global momentum and recognition after its premier season ended in June 2015 in London.

    Currently, ten teams are competing in the world’s leading cities on temporary city-center circuits designed to create an exciting environment. The teams are: ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport; Andretti Formula E; Dragon Racing; Virgin DS; Mahindra Racing; Nextev TCR; Renault E.Dams; Team Aguri; and Venturi.

    In Auto, the international journal of the FIA, Virgin DS Team Principal Alex Tai described what it’s all about: “What we are looking for in Formula E is to see if it can find improvements in technology that will improve the lives of people, including the environment that we live in. We sincerely believe that the planet is in trouble and we need to do what we can to reduce CO2 emissions and clean up the atmosphere. A large contributor to this is transportation. What we need to do is work with these OEMs [original equipment manufacturers]to see if we can come up with better forms of powering the cars that you and I drive.”

    Mahindra Racing Team Principal Dilbagh Gill added that their ambition for Formula E “extends far ahead of racing. It has to push electric vehicle technology; it has to make it more exciting; it has to make it more relevant. . . We would like to see if we can accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles. We want people to see that these vehicles are a genuine alternative and pushing the boundaries of the sport will help that.”

    Here in the Philippines, the e-vehicles most visible are e-jeepneys in Makati City and e-tricycles in some towns. They are a welcome sight to environment-conscious people and the Automobile Association Philippines (AAP), the only FIA club member in the country.

    AAP shares the FIA’s commitment to promote green mobility. AAP president Gus Lagman said the club lauds the government’s efforts to support the commercial development and wider use of alternative-powered vehicles such as e-vehicles for public transportation.

    Recently, for example, the Filipino-owned Tojo Motors Corporation, a member of the Electric Vehicles Association of the Philippines, secured a loan from the Development Bank of the Philippines via the DBP’s Green Financing Program.

    Lagman noted that the Land Transportation Office collects from car owners about P10 billion a year for the Motor Vehicle Users Charge (MVUC.) The revenue goes to the Road Board, which allots 7.5 percent of the money for the implementation of the Clean Air Act.

    Perhaps the government can allot a portion of that amount to encourage e-vehicles manufacturing, Lagman said. Meanwhile, AAP stands ready to help propagate e-vehicles and other alternative-powered cars in any way it can.



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