MANILA, November 18, 2010 — For the first time ever, the various stakeholders in the electric vehicle industry in the Philippines will hold the 1st Philippine Electric Vehicle Summit to assess the country’s EV industry, the consumers’ readiness to adopt the EV technology and see how to grow the domestic EV industry.
The summit is slated on November 23 to 24 at the Meralco Multipurpose Hall in Pasig City. It will have for its theme “The Road Forward for the Electric Vehicle Industry in the Philippines”.
Raffy Villarreal, president of the Motor Vehicle Parts Manufacturers Association of the Philippines, said that the summit is necessary at this time, considering that international carmakers foresee that EVs and other “green” cars would account for around five percent of the world car market in five years’ time.
“We need to look back and see how far we have gone, what the challenges are at the moment and what needs to be done to take the domestic EV industry to the next level,” he said.
The summit is organized by MVPMAP, Alternative Modern Transport (AMT), World Wide Fund for Nature, Partnership for Clean Air, Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines and the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities in cooperation with Meralco.
Ferdinand Raquelsantos, president of PhUV Inc., the business arm of MVPMAP and the local assembler of the electric jeepneys, said out that the summit theme says it all.
“The summit expects to be able to formulate a road map for the EV industry for at least the next five years. We have to be ready with the solutions to overcome the current technical hurdles and with the needed infrastructure to enable us to grow the domestic EV market.”
“International carmakers also predict the international EV industry sales to grow by about one percent per year, thus by 2020, it is expected to account for about 10 percent of new car sales in the world market.
The Philippines must be able to partake of a slice of this huge pie. The expected entry of Meralco into the picture bodes well for the domestic EV industry as we can now expect the facilitation of the much-needed off-site charging stations to increase the mileage of the EVs,” Raquelsantos said.
MVPMAP and PhUV Inc. have pioneered the EV industry in the Philippines by locally designing, fabricating, assembling and actually putting on the road the eJeepneys.
It is the first EV to ever be granted the orange-colored license plate by the Land Transportation Office under the new category “Low Speed Vehicle or LSV”.
Today, a fleet of eJeepneys ply the Makati Green Routes under iCSC’s Climate friendly Cities Program, transporting office workers for free in Makati City, the country’s financial district, through the Legazpi and Salcedo Village routes.
This makes the eJeepney probably the first EV to be used for mass transport application not only in the Philippines but in Southeast Asia as well.
Raquelsantos explained that in the last three years that PhUV Inc. has been patiently nurturing the EV Industry, a lot have been learned such as the importance of after-sales service and parts availability and the transfer of technology in the fields of EV maintenance and repairs, electric motors, rechargeable batteries, controllers, chargers and EV testing.
“On top of that, the local assembly of the EV has also provided marginal production volume to some 125 local auto parts makers comprising MVPMAP.
“It is because to assemble the eJeepney, we only import what MVPMAP members could not supply locally. This has benefitted some 40,000 employees in the upstream and downstream industries dependent on the local parts manufacturing industry,” he said.
A research done for the summit indicates that there is now mounting international pressure on carmakers due to tighter legislations on carbon dioxide emissions. Thus, they are looking at full electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrid technology to provide the answers.
This early, they are developing the infrastructure needed such as either battery swapping or charging stations in malls, supermarkets and private and public parking lots.
The US currently has around 500 electric vehicle charging stations. This number is expected to increase up to 20,000 by 2012.
However, consumer adoption of the EV technology could be a problem. A study showed that EVs are more expensive than conventional cars, and many people are still not ready to pay more for a “green” car.
In fact, according to the recent Financial Times survey, 65 percent of Americans and 76 percent of Britons are not yet willing to pay more for an electric car above the price of a gasoline car.
Sales forecasts are therefore tempered. The global electric vehicle sales is predicted to grow to only 2.7 million cars by 2015, with around 885,000 located in North America and around 780,000 in Europe.
On top of the heap is China, which currently produces about 90 percent of the world’s EVs, including electric bicycles, motorcycles and scooters. It is also home to some 66 percent of the world’s EV manufacturers.
One point to be optimistic about is that EVs have an average efficiency of 80 percent, which is much better compared to conventional gasoline engines that can effectively use only about 15 percent of the fuel energy content, and diesel engines are not much better either as they can achieve efficiency of around 20 percent.
Villarreal said that now that the various stakeholders in the EV industry such as manufacturers, battery and other parts suppliers, NGOs, LGUs, the government, the academe, advocates of environmental protection and now Meralco have come together, it appears that the domestic EV industry is set for a take off.
“It’s all-systems go and after the summit, the EV industry will be ready to shift gears to accelerate its development,” he said. (PNA)
Photo by AC Dimatatac