MANILA Electric Co. (Meralco), the largest power distribution utility in the Philippines, is considering venturing into the manufacture of electric vehicles (EVs), possibly with a partner, rather than just investing in the installation of charging stations for such vehicles.
Meralco Senior Vice-President Alfredo Panlilio told reporters the company was looking at expanding its participation in the e-vehicle value chain.
“We’re even thinking of really creating what we call an end transport vehicle for electric vehicles, even to the point of exploring should we get into manufacturing,” Panlilio said, adding the firm has been looking at EVs for the longest time.
Meralco may venture into EVs on its own or with a partner through a joint venture (JV), he said.
The Meralco official added they are mulling a partnership “up to the level of operatorship, up to charging stations, up to running the charging stations.”
If they can find a partner on the manufacturing side, then Meralco can look at the numbers to make it work, he said.
He said their initial target would be public utility vehicles, beginning with e-trikes.
“I guess what we’re doing is we’re not going [into EVs]massively first. I think we’re identifying two to three proof of concepts. As I’ve said, one of them will be in Mandaluyong. We’re talking about 2,000 to 3,000 e-trikes,” Panlilio said.
In December last year, Meralco informed the local bourse of its plan to form a new subsidiary that would own, maintain and operate electric vehicles and charging stations in a bid to help lower the country’s carbon emissions.
The unit would “engage in the business of owning, maintaining, and operating transport service networks of charging stations, batteries, and vehicles utilizing electric energy and other alternative energy sources,” the company said.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has yet to approve its application.
William Pamintuan, Meralco first vice president and head of its legal division, told reporters that the business would put up charging stations and e-vehicles as well as provide EV public shuttles, focusing on Meralco’s franchise area.
“We see opportunity in the development of e-vehicles moving forward. At the same time, it’s pro-environment,” Pamintuan said. “We also see it as an opportunity since it will also create a market of power users hoping to increase demand of electricity. As more people adopt EVs, we are hoping demand will increase exponentially,” he said.