A sudden heavy downpour and a leg cramp while traveling along EDSA last Thursday afternoon made me take a detour to a nearby café in Makati; thus canceling my attendance at the opening of the 2-day electric vehicle show in Pasay City.
A friend, whom I was supposed to meet there, agreed to meet me at the said café to also give me some details of what he saw in the said event.
During our conversation, I gave him my own opinion on what has been transpiring these days in the auto industry – which is seeing an apparent transition from internal combustion engine cars (ICEs) into electric vehicles (EVs).
After the slow opening of the world from the killer Covid-19 pandemic, the entry of EVs has been a focal issue all over the world. With the emergence of Tesla as the prime mover of EVs in the United States and also in the world, various Chinese EV manufacturers suddenly sprouted left and right to compete and join the party.
Yet it can not be denied that the European EV manufacturers also have the right to be at the forefront of this transition since they actually have been into it more than 10 years back.
Surprisingly, the Japanese automakers are not keen on going straight to electric just yet as they are still slowly adopting it into their system. Actually, the majority of those major Japanese manufacturers are still promoting what they were inclined to develop several years back, which are the hybrid cars – those using both fuel and battery (remember the Toyota Prius?).
The continued rise in the cost of oil and the emergence of world-wide calls for the reduction of harmful emissions from vehicles apparently led to the march to electric vehicle production.
Yes, there’s no harm in looking into other alternatives since the world has been held captive for decades of the skyrocketing oil prices. Many options have been tried long before and yet the world is still thirsty for oil. We also believe that the EVs are one of the best options the whole world has in battling many problems it is facing.
But looking at the Philippine setting, going fully electric in vehicles would take long years before it could be fully accepted by the consumers.
We were in Berlin in 2011 when a total of 150 fully electric vehicles – from Segways to cars, F3 speedsters, buses, and trucks – were paraded during a Bibendum event. Today, most European countries have already adopted the EVs wholeheartedly as infrastructures and continued development on batteries continued through the years.
It was very fascinating to see local car dealers and manufacturers presenting to the local consumers, through major car shows these days, the very best in the EV market all over the world. Many have already seen the pride of the Koreans – the Hyundai Ioniq5 that has been adjudged as the 2022 World Car of the Year and the Kia EV6 that competed with it very closely during the said New York car event, and even the BMW’s iX3 which is getting very popular these days.
But the cost of owning one of those EVs is not only the major roadblock in making them closer to the heart of the motorists in the near future. You can already buy one or more ICEs for the price of one EV in the market today. But recent news from around the world is promising for the lowering of their prices if and when new and affordable batteries (the heart and soul of every EVs) would be introduced soon.
To us, the big question mark for EVs to be embraced wholeheartedly – not only here but also around the world – is the full setup of its infrastructure. This means an easy access to charging stations any time of the day, just like ordinary oil stations that can be found all over the archipelago.
Yes, we haven’t included here yet the problem of the absence of a universal charger that can be used by those EVs and also the rising cost of electricity in the country which, we understand, is the highest in the Asian region.