There are many reasons why mobility in the Philippines should shift to the use of electric vehicles (EVs) and the health of its population is the major one.
According to a recent study by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), vehicle emission contributes 69 percent to the air pollution problem in the country. Ninety percent of that comes from Metro Manila.
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said there are currently 4,362 registered EVs in the Philippines as of December 2018. Meantime, there are only 83 EV players in the country, 54 of which are manufacturers/importers.
Dr. Rafaelita “Fita” Aldaba, undersecretary for Innovation and Competitiveness of the DTI, said that EV belongs to the top priorities of the Philippines in the new innovation industrial strategy.
Dr. Aldaba was the speaker at the fourth Society of Philippine Motoring Journalist (SPMJ) Forum held at Seda Hotel at the BGC, Taguig, last week. The forum is co-presented by the Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors (AVID), led by its president, Ma. Fe Agudo, who is also the CEO of Hyundai Asia Resources Inc. (HARI).
The forum is also part of AVID’s Landscape series of talks, a semi-annual political and economic briefing which aims to provide a full assessment of the current environment for the automotive business.
At the SPMJ Forum, Dr. Aldaba cited a survey of Frost and Sullivan in Southeast Asia, which showed that 46 percent of Filipinos are “eager” to buy an EV.
The Philippines took the top spot in the survey, followed by Thailand, 44 percent; Indonesia, 37 percent; Malaysia, 33 percent; Vietnam, 33 percent; and Singapore with only 23 percent.
To develop an EV ecosystem, Aldaba said the government is promoting xEV (Electrified Vehicle) and EV manufacturing, as well as the building of charging infrastructure in the country.
“The Philippines has five percent of the global nickel reserves stored as laterite ores and the country also comprises four percent of the total global cobalt reserves and these two metals, nickel and cobalt, are inputs for the manufacturing of batteries,” she underscored.
Under the country’s Inclusive Innovation Industrial Strategy (i3S), Aldaba said that xEV was among the top 12 priority sectors being developed.
Since it is still a “very young and very new” industry, Aldaba said, they were looking into the viability of giving incentives.
She said “incentives are crucial to change the behavior of market players and promote demand for xEV and private investment across the value chain.”
Among the incentives that are in the planning board are the removal or reduction of tariffs; incentives for parts and components; excise duty or vat exemption for equipment and parts. For end users, the incentives can be priority in registration and issuance of plate numbers; exemption for the “coding” scheme; free parking in commercial establishments; provision of space for charging stations; annual vehicle registration exemption and three year registration interval.
She explained that the road to EVs is already prepared by existing government EV policies and programs. Among these are the Clean Air Act that will phase out Euro 2 and Euro 4 vehicles; an executive order on zero tariffs for EV components and parts for assembly of hybrid, electric, flexible fuel and CNG motor vehicles; the E-trike project to deploy 100,000 units nationwide to replace traditional gasoline-fed tricycles.
The SPMJ Forum is held quarterly as a project of the organization composed of motoring journalists.
By Pinky Concha Colmenares