MANILA, Philippines – With the record-breaking temperatures and vicious natural disasters, climate change has become a global imminent threat, prompting countries to employ policy changes.
The Philippines is doing its part, albeit small, with its slow introduction of electric vehicles in the market.
The Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (EVAP), first inaugurated under the Aquino administration in 2009, aims to roll out a million electric vehicles by 2020.
“We hope to capture 10% of the jeepney and tricycle population in the country for the next five years. That’s 120,000 and 35,000 respectively. This will not only benefit the environment, but drivers as well,” EVAP President Rommel Juan said in a press conference on Thursday, April 14.
The plan is part of its roadmap for the industry which is set to be finished by the end of the year.
The Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) and EVAP awarded the initial order of 3000 ETrikes, as it opened the fifth Philippine Electric Vehicle Summit, which showcased different electric vehicle prototypes from jeepneys to personal cars.
The 3000 unit order is short of its initial target back in 2009 of 100,000 electric vehicles by the end of the Aquino administration. However, Juan still considers the feat a “victory for the industry.”
“Just think of the benefits it will do for the environment, so it’s already considered a victory for us. Aside from the projects of Department of Energy, there are already individual projects of different local government units,” Juan added.
Currently, there are around a thousand ETrikes and 200 EJeepneys in key cities nationwide, including Manila, Mandaluyong, Boracay, and Naga City. Some local government units (LGUs) mandate the use of electronic vehicles to pursue green transportation.
“By 2017, it will be voluntary to have 15-year-old vehicles changed to new ones. And by 2018, it’s mandatory. So jeepney owners will not have any choice, and we wish to introduce them this alternative,” EVAP President Ferdinand Raquel Santos said.
LGUs employ different methods to introduce the technology to the local market. For example in Mandaluyong, those who wish to drive a brand new tricycle has to be electric. The law has been in effect since 2014 with a payment scheme of P300 ($6.49) per day basis for 3.5 years, before the unit gets turned over to the driver as his or her own.
EVAP has also collaborated with different banks like DBP and Landbank for financing packages to ease payment methods. Compared to an ordinary jeepney that sells for P600,000($12,983.36) for a brand new unit, a new EJeepney cost P1.3 million ($24,451.99).
The association hopes the next administration will be supportive of its initiatives by opening the discussion in providing incentives for electric vehicle owners, or the passage of the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Incentive Bill.
“We have recently pledged a 70% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030, and this initiative is a great step for that. We want a leader who recognizes that transportation is a big factor in terms of air pollution at 80%. We hope the next administration will look into providing incentives,” Rommel said.
The practice has been deemed effective in various countries, including Norway, United Kingdom, US,Hong Kong, among others.
“In an initial study three years ago, providing incentives can cut prices by as much as 35%. It would be a big help for the industry and to drivers especially who wish to replace their old vehicles,”Raquel Santos added.