By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
Mitsubishi Motors Philippines (MMPC) will shift to an all-solar-powered operation in the latter part this year if not early 2020 in line with the Japanese car firm’s goal to use sustainable, cleaner and renewable energy sources.
MMPC Vice President Renato S. Lampano said they are looking at June this year to start bidding out the projects, which should be able to generate 4 mw to support Mitsubishi group’s power requirements for all of its plants in the country.
The country’s second largest car company said it has been planning this project for the past three months to study on the structural integrity of the plants and buildings.
The solar panel are to be installed on the roof of Mitsubishi buildings.
The local Mitsubishi plants and their affiliates require as much as 3.5 mw to 4 mw. These include affiliates of Mitsubishi Corp. such as the joint venture with Solar Philippines, Total Solar, and Solar Energy.
According to Lampano, MMPC is not going to spend anything for the solar project as there are companies that are willing to shoulder the capex and just charge them the operating cost.
There is no final computation yet as to the cost savings, but Lampano said it could be significantly lower than what its current power supplier Meralco charges them now.
MMPC has trimmed to six firms the interested bidders, but which he did not identify.
Its efforts at shifting to a cleaner energy source makes MMPC among the pioneers in the Mitsubishi group.
The plan is to do it simultaneously with the Okasaki plant. Mitsubishi Motors Corp. has a project called RE 100.
In line with its effort to go for cleaner energy, MMPC said they intend to join the electric vehicle segment but would like to see a clearer direction on the tax incentives to ensure the competitiveness of these vehicles and boost its plan to accelerate sales to achieve its next 1 million-unit sales mark in a decade only.
MMPC raised the competitiveness issue on e-vehicles during a press conference to celebrate the company’s One Million Unit Sales, which it achieved in March this year. Mitsubishi e-vehicles are i-MiEV and Outlander PHEV.
Other car companies Nissan and Hyundai have already announced the introduction of their e-vehicles in the country.
MMPC President and CEO Matsuhiro Oshikiri said the Mitsubishi headquarters in Japan has made and initiative to form a joint study with the Department of Trade and Industry and the academe on EV.
Lampano explained that the EV roadmap is expected to be completed within this month. Under the TRAIN Law, the pure EVs are granted zero excise tax but it is still slapped with the customs duty.
For hybrid EVs, the applicable excise tax for instance for its Outlander PHEV is around 10 percent, hybrid Outlander is 20 percent and 30 percent for pure EVs.
“That is still a big amount, we would like that government also remove the customs duties to make EVs competitive,” said Lampano.
Yoichiro Yatabe, Mitsubishi Motors Corp. Vice President in charge of the ASEAN region, also said that with government incentives they are planning to start EV production in Thailand in 2021 and will introduce this year its PHEV model in Indonesia to be imported from Japan.
“Naturally, we would like to sell EVs in the Philippines but it depends on the government infrastructure and incentive plan but we have a strong will to start,” said Yatabe.
Other MMPC officials also cited the need to improve quality and cost competitiveness with other plants in the region. There is also a very small EV market in the country.