The Philippine electric vehicle (EV) industry is pursuing various initiatives to guide the growth of the industry and to make the country the electric vehicle hub in the Asean region.
Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (EVAP) President Rommel Juan said during the 5th Philippine Electric Vehicle Summit on Thursday that this means “plugging up all the holes and tying up all the loose ends.”
“Although a lot good things have happened to boost the industry, the EV players must ensure that their QCD (quality, cost and delivery) capabilities are at par or even better than those of the others in the region. This is the only way we can be competitive and survive.”
Juan added, however, that the EV industry would be a lot happier if there were more government support. EVAP is pushing for the approval of the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Incentive Bill in both Houses of Congress, which will grant fiscal and non-fiscal incentives for local EV industry players and provide a more definitive roadmap for the EV industry.
EVAP also wants a formulation of EV standards for vehicles, parts, and testing, and to find cheaper and easier access to financing for capex, opex, and retail sales to support the continued build-up of EV infrastructure.
“We wish that government will soon formulate the standards for the electric vehicle, its parts, and for testing, and maybe they could then start putting in place testing facilities and manpower training centers. In the area of legislation, for the last so many years we have tried our best and have always failed to have an Alternative Fuel Vehicle Incentive Bill passed into law. This could have provided all players in the local EV industry with fiscal and non-fiscal incentives similar to what our peers in the region enjoy from their governments. This is one challenge that we will have to deal with in the coming years,” Juan said.
“We should also seriously pursue the application of newer technologies, such as in the area of batteries and charging for us to achieve a longer range with shorter charging time and at the least cost,” Juan said.
The industry must also “work harder to increase mass transport applications of Jeepneys and ETrikes nationwide and start developing the export market, starting with the region,” he added.
While the government has seen the huge potential of EV, there are a lot of things still to be done, Juan said.
The Department of Energy (DOE) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have finally awarded the initial order of 3,000 ETrikes to BEMAC for pilot testing a projected program quantity of 100,000 ETrikes over the next few years.
“This alone is reason for us to celebrate. This is indeed a historic event in our EV history and will surely be the catalyst that could ignite an explosion of positive developments in our EV industry,” Juan said.
Industry is ‘blooming’
He said that during the last twelve months alone, ETrike manufacturers such as BEMAC, Kea Industrial, Tojo Motors, and PhUV have ramped up production outputs due to higher demand.
“EV projects have bloomed, like those at the Ateneo and UP campuses, Bacoor, Cavite, Filinvest Alabang, Muntinlupa LGU, Ayala Alabang, Mandaluyong LGU, the City of Manila, Quezon City, Las Pinas and even at the island paradise Boracay. EVWealth just deployed 100 ETrikes in Mandaluyong, now the biggest ever deployment of ETrikes in any part of the country. All of a sudden, the eight-year old infant industry has sprung to life,” Juan said.
He said that in the financing scene, with proof of concept now evident, green financing has become available from both banks and other public and private financial institutions.
Green EV financing packages are available from the Development Bank of the Philippines, Landbank, Orix Metro, CARD, Negosyong Pinoy and Proximity Funding, among others.
And in what is probably a first in the EV industry, DBP has just granted a green loan to Tojo Motors. CTI-PFAN also matches EV companies with funding institutions, whether public or private, to finance capital expenditures, operating expenses and retail financing.
Juan explained that even the business model for selling EVs has had to be revised.
“We found out that that for us to really sell EVs for mass transport applications, we need to offer not just electric vehicles but a complete mass transport solution package. This would include an electric vehicle manufacturer and assembler, a reliable after-sales service provider, an experienced fleet transport operator, a financing or leasing company, a battery charging and swapping station and maybe a Corporate Social Responsibility advocacy arm to promote EV technology and its use nationwide. This means EVAP members must band together to provide a complete transport solution,” he said.
EVAP chairman Ferdinand Raquelsantos said that EVAP members have also been busy putting the much-needed infrastructure in place.