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EV industry in search of right ‘connections’

For electricity to flow, connections are needed. No wonder the local electric vehicle or EV industry is looking for more connections – in this case, partnerships – to “electrify” public and private transport in the country.

Nissan Motor's LEAF
That’s the goal of the 6th Philippine Electric Vehicle Summit on July 10 to 11 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City, as industry stalwarts see the local market is ripe for not just electric public transport such as e-jeeps or e-tricycles, but for private electric cars and hybrid vehicles as well.

But to see the EV industry take off, more partnerships and connections must be made to “start the conversation,” according to Rommel Juan, president of the Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (EVAP), which is co-organizing the summit with the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) and the Partnership for Clean Air.

“It is our belief that by stepping up partnerships, we can electrify public and private transport much faster. Since we started our advocacy 10 years ago by building our first e-jeepney and establishing the EVAP, we feel that everything is falling into place now,” Juan said in a press conference to launch the summit on Thursday in Makati City.

The 6th PEVS will be held in partnership with the Department of Transportation, Department of Trade, Department of Energy, Nissan Philippines Inc., and Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. – with the two carmakers planning to unveil the Leaf and the i-MiEV, respectively, for the local market during the event.

But while the support of three government departments and the Board of Investments is encouraging for the local electric automakers, EVAP chairman Ferdinand Raquelsantos said it is high time that the Senate helps enact the EV bill, versions of which have been shelved in the chamber for over five years.

“We are pushing for the passage of the EV bill, along with the incentives for the industry,” Raquelsantos said. “The worldwide secret for EV is government support in terms of exemptions from duties. We’re already exempted from the excise tax, but we can start more conversations along this line.”

The ‘king of the road’ gets an electric upgrade.
The latest such bill filed in the 17th Congress is Senate Bill No. 1540, titled “Electric and Hybrid Vehicles Including Charging Stations Promotions Act Of 2017.” It was filed in August last year by Senator Francis Pangilinan.

Senators Ralph Recto, Bam Aquino and Sonny Trillanes have also filed versions of the EV bill. Raquelsantos told the Standard Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri has been championing the measure in the chamber, but again lawmakers are running out of time to approve it before the elections next year.

Both Juan and Raquelsantos said EV is inevitable as the whole world goes electric and seeks a more fuel-efficient means of transportation. It’s especially fitting for the Philippines given its dependence on – and the rising prices of -- foreign oil, they added.

EVAP is also encouraged by a recent Frost and Sullivan regional survey, commissioned by Nissan, which says 46 percent of Filipinos are considering an electric vehicle as their next car, higher than the Southeast Asian average of 37 percent.

Government and business interest in electric transport is growing rapidly, as costs associated with EVs begin to drop and charging infrastructure start to expand, Juan noted.

“Even automotive giants such as Nissan and Mitsubishi are making a push in bringing their EV models to the Philippine market,” he added.

To boost the conversation EVAP desires, the group has invited to the event senior government officials and industry stakeholders across the value chain, including vehicle OEMs, infrastructure providers, battery suppliers, transport companies, and even public transport groups.

Adoption of electric cars in the Philippines for own use and for private commercial transport use such as taxis is inevitable, but the government and the private sector need to collaborate “to put in place a clear policy, timeframe and infrastructure to grow the sector,” he added.

With the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement establishing the ASEAN Federation of Electric and Hybrid Vehicles Association by the EV Associations of the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore last year, an active and intensified partnership among industry players in ASEAN region exists to promote and accelerate the deployment of electric vehicles, the group added.

Meanwhile, this year’s PEVS will feature the following:

• Keynote message≠≠s by senior government officials from the Senate of the Philippines, DoTr, DTI, DoE, and DENR on their initiatives to promote sustainable transport;

• Nissan and Mitsubishi’s EV Technology presentations, showcasing their commitment to delivering smarter, safer, sustainable mobility solutions for the future;

• A discussion by Frost and Sullivan on the status and future of e-mobility in the Philippines with a broad spectrum of policymakers and industry stakeholders as panel reactors;

• Information exchange from leading EV organizations in Asia on their most recent learnings on EV and EVSE (electric vehicle supply equipment) deployments in their jurisdictions;

• The soft launching by the DoTr of their project entitled “Promotion of Low Carbon Urban Transport Systems in the Philippines,” which aims to create an enabling environment for the commercialization of low carbon urban transport systems and EVs in the Philippines.

• Updates on the DOTr’s Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program covering financing programs, PUVMP standards development; route rationalization; and presentation of PUVMP prototypes for the benefit of the transport corporations and cooperatives;

• A free exhibit featuring the latest in electric vehicles and supporting infrastructure that are currently sweeping the ASEAN market; and

• A raffle of electric bicycles at the end of every session day.

With Juan and Raquelsantos at the launch event were Dax Avenido, Assistant General Manager for PR and Communications of Nissan Philippines; Raymond Ravelo, vice president and head strategy and business development office of Meralco; Dante Santos, Senior Vice President for Corporate Affairs and Planning of Mitsubishi Philippines; and Renato Lampano, Vice President for Business Planning and Public Relations, Mitsubishi PH.

Topics: Electric vehicle , 6th Philippine Electric Vehicle Summit , Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines , Rommel Juan , ASEAN Federation of Electric and Hybrid Vehicles Association
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