THE Philippines’ e-vehicle industry is expected to get a boost from incoming Japanese investments in the country.
Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (EVAP) President Rommel Juan told The Manila Times on Tuesday that a group of Japanese investors who had recently visited the Philippines were all interested in investing in the local e-vehicle sector, given the country’s drive to reduce greenhouse gases by 70 percent by 2030.
Juan said he actually mentioned this when he spoke in the Asia Forum on Clean Energy Financing (AFCEF-6) in Singapore on January 29.
Juan said so far, two Japanese e-vehicle firms have set up shop in the country—Prozza Hirose in Cebu, and E-Trike maker Bemac Motors in Carmona, Cavite.
Juan said Bemac had recently won the bid to supply an initial 3,000 electric tricycles to various local government units in the country under the Department of Energy’s Tricycle Replacement Program, which is partially funded by the Asian Development Bank.
“We believe there will be more Japanese investors who will come in to take advantage of the huge potential of the EV industry in the Philippines,” Juan said.
EVAP is currently focused on replacing the old and smoke-belching jeeps and tricycles that account for 70 percent of Metro Manila’s air pollution.
The group cited records from the Land Transportation Office, which indicated that about 1.2 million tricycles and 370,000 jeepneys are apt to be replaced with eco-friendly, non-polluting e-vehicles.
“After realizing this critical mass, we hope to develop the Philippines as the EV manufacturing hub of Asia,” Juan said, adding the Philippines could supply the region with quality electric vehicles.
“It helps that the local population is growing,” he said. “The Philippines enjoys a huge population of around 100 million people with a one-percent growth rate per year.”
He described the entry of Japanese investors in the e-vehicle sector as timely, saying it could help the country fulfill its 70-percent greenhouse gas reduction pledge in the Paris Summit in 2015. Juan said the Philippines has overtaken Thailand and Vietnam as the top investment destination in Asia among Japanese companies diversifying beyond China.
“With China’s recent economic slowdown, the Philippines is now on top of the list of Asean countries for Japanese investments,” he said. “Accumulated investment from Japan to the Philippines to date has already reached P460.0 Billion.”
EVAP cited, for instance, Tatsuhiro Shindo, executive vice president of Japan External Trade Organization (Jetro).
“This is going to work well two ways for us,” Juan said. “Not only will the market continue to grow, but there is also going to be a steady supply of skilled workforce. These factors promise to be an advantage for the EV investors in the country, especially the Japanese.
Juan said EVAP is inviting international investors to join its upcoming Philippine EV Summit by showcasing their products and services.
“We hope that in the process, business partnerships in the form of either joint ventures or technical licensing agreements will be forged with our local EV players,” Juan said.
EVAP will hold the summit on April 14-16.