By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
Domestic electric vehicle assemblers are pushing for investments in battery production in the country as they expect demand for e-vehicles to accelerate between 8-12 percent annually.
The Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (EVAP) already placed sales of e-vehicles to reach 200,000 units in the next six years with estimated P1.68 billion on sales of services.
EVAP President Edmund Araga told reporters at the press launch for the Nickel Initiative 2019, which is slated next month, that the 200,000 units are going to replace some of the 400,000 units of old jeepneys that are going to be phased out. He, however, explained that not all of these old jeepneys are going to be replaced by e-vehicles because some will just have to be replaced with the euro-4 engines.
Araga, who is also president of ECO PUV, Inc., also said that for this year alone they expect to supply as much as 12,000 units of various e-vehicles from trikes, jeepneys and motorcycles from last year’s 7,000 units.
But assemblers are faced with battery cost issues. Motolite is the lone car battery producer in the country and the company cannot cope with the huge demand aside from having products with different specification from that of the e-vehicles.
Besides, it also requires huge investment to put up battery production with new battery technology for e-vehicles. Araga said that battery is the single biggest component of an e-vehicle, accounting for 50 percent of the entire cost of an e-vehicle. Most of the e-vehicle batteries are imported from China, Korea or Japan.
“Battery technology, which requires nickel in its components, has always been a main challenge in our sector. The world is shifting towards sustainable energy and we can say that e-vehicles are the future,” said Araga.
The Philippine Nickel Industry Association led by Dante Bravo has partnered with EVAP and the European Chamber of Commerce and Industry to mount “The Nickel Initiative 2019: Shaping Tomorrow, Together”.
“The Philippines is the world’s second largest supplier of nickel ore and as such, it is imperative that we take the lead in discussing the future of nickel consumption and on how we can make it sustainable and collaborative so that it can drive further development not just here in the Philippines, but globally,” he said.
The conference seeks to explore global trends in nickel-consuming sectors to identify investment opportunities and areas of cooperation and collaboration. The conference also hops to serve as a platform for industries with shared interests in nickel such as e-vehicles, transportation, and stainless steel to stimulate investor interest.
Apart from e-vehicles and the transportation sector, the infrastructure, electronics, information and medical technology sectors will be participating in the conference.
Other featured industries in the event include companies involved in exploring, extracting, and processing nickel as well as businesses that utilize nickel as a key resource.