Japan, PH firms tie up to build electric vehicles

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Neues Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of the NKC Metalworks Group of Japan, and Kart Plaza Manufacturing Corp., the Philippines’ leading electric golf kart distributor and servicing company, announced a partnership that will see both companies engage in the local manufacturing of affordable and economical electric vehicles (EVs), which will be made available in the Philippine automotive market.

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“With the world’s fossil fuel sources gradually diminishing over time, and our inevitable dependence on petroleum, fuel costs are rising and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. Aside from the financial implications, there are also environmental issues that come with the unbridled consumption of fossil fuels,” Johnny Tan, managing director of Kart Plaza Manufacturing Corp., said at a press conference held at the SMX in Pasay City.

“This makes it a necessity for those in the transportation industry and every household in the country to reverse these harmful consequences by exploring alternatives to the traditional modes of mobility, which we have grown accustomed to,” Tan said.

“Electric vehicles are one answer to the problems, the introduction of an evolving concept in transportation which is sustainable, economical, and for the Filipino,” Tan added.

According to the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB), of the 7.138 million registered motor vehicles in 2011, 788,372 are cars and 1.764 million are public utility vehicles, which number is increasing in years to come.

Under the agreement between the two companies, Neues will provide the complete EV platform, as well as the standalone charging stations, which Kart Plaza will use to locally develop, assemble, distribute and service the electric vehicles that will be offered to the Philippine motoring public as an affordable, “green,” and sustainable transport.

The NKC Group, which is a provider of cutting-edge technology and world-class products including bearing retainers, assembly-line conveyor systems, electric forklifts and wind-turbine technology, established Neues which has been hard at work on the development of electric cars since 2009.

In 2013, the company unveiled its compact EV platform, which is comprised of an EV unit, chassis and wheels that can be customized to suit the preferences of any market. Kart Plaza will help design and manufacture the EVs, as well as serve as the exclusive distributor and marketing arm of Neues in the Philippines.

According to Tatsuo Nakanishi, president of parent company NKC Metalworks, “Air pollution and oil price hikes cause serious problems to people’s lives all over the world, which is the same situation in the Philippines. One of the solutions to this problem is electric cars.”

“We are going to push forward with this project by cooperating with the Philippine government and private sector. It is not just a dream to promote the electric vehicle by uniting the power of everyone but let us make the Philippines a frontrunner [in the use]of electric vehicles,” Nakanishi added.

According to Keisuke Imada, head of Neues’ EV development, “When we designed the platform, the world safety standard rule was integrated into our electric vehicles. We also adopted up-to-date technology for driving and riding comfort at an affordable price. The major costs of the EV are the batteries and its management system. Our Japanese team is composed of experts in developing car chassis but the final styling, assembling and design of the body exterior and interior will be handled by Kart Plaza.”

Their EVs will be 40 percent Philippine parts and 60 percent mainly from Japanese parts, especially the battery. The maximum speed of this eco-friendly vehicle is 50 km/h. The initial target price for the small car is P400,000 while the Jeepney type will cost about P1 million.

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