Private sector drives EVs in PH

Published September 28, 2020, 6:00 AM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

The private sector-driven electric vehicle (EV)industry in the Philippines has already generated ₱1.305 billion in investments with annual production capacity of 150,000 units of a wide range of electric vehicle models as the country aims to become a regional production hub for clean and environment-friendly vehicles.

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez. (ALFRED FRIAS/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO FILE PHOTO)

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez cited the private sector’s contribution at the opening of the 8th Philippine Electric Vehicle Virtual Summit.

Lopez noted that 50 companies have invested in local e-PUVs, including Bemac, Tojo Motors, and Star8.

 Major automobile brands are also aggressively promoting their EV vehicles in the Philippines like Hyundai, Nissan, and Mitsubishi.

Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. is launching their 2020 Outlander PHEV in the country this September even as Nissan Philippines is bringing in their own Nissan Leaf.

The private sector, he said, especially EVAP, has been working with the government since day one in shaping the emerging industry.

EVAP aided the DTI in drafting the EV Industry Roadmap, as well as various policies to support the industry.

EVAP also assisted with the proposed Electric Vehicles and Charging Stations Act, the Land Transportation Office’s (LTO) guidelines for EV registration, and the standards for EVs and their parts and components for the Bureau of Product Standards (BPS).

With the assistance of DTI, EVAP partnered with the Power Battery Application Committee of China Industrial Association of Power Sources (CIAPS-PBA) to develop EV battery technology and manufacturing in the country.

Already, Tojo Motors will be sourcing battery cells from CIAP-PBA member, Jiangsu Highstar Battery Manufacturing Company, for the local assembly of EV batteries.

In addition, the Philippine Nickel Industry Association (PNIA) has partnered with CIAPS-PBA to deepen the Philippine nickel industry’s role in the global battery supply chain.

On our end, the government is committed in its support to enable the Philippine EV industry, especially in helping manufacturers and promoting demand.

Aside from strong private sector collaboration, Lopez cited three key points can give the Philippines a competitive edge in the global EV industry.

One, electronics and electronic parts still comprise a strong part of the country’s exports, 59.3% of our total exports in July 2020.

Leveraging on our electronics manufacturing strengths and developing auto-electronics and EV components will significantly boost our market share in the EV and Industry 4.0 value chains.

Two, the Philippines is well known for mineral resources used in battery technology, particularly nickel and cobalt. In fact, the Philippines hosts percent of global nickel reserves and 4% of global cobalt reserves.

 “Let us make use of these valuable reserves to produce high value products such as batteries. We will also continue supporting industry collaborations initiated by EVAP, PNIA, and CIAPS-PBA to develop EV battery technology and manufacturing in the country. Through this, we can build a robust EV ecosystem, generating more jobs and employment in the process,” he said.

Three, the Philippines can develop its competency in EV technology similar to how the country has upskilled in the aerospace industry and has now developed higher value design engineering for aerospace parts.

According to the Global EV Outlook 2020 of the International Energy Agency (IEA) global sales of electric cars registered a 40 percent year-on-year increase in 2019 even as the overall car market contracted by 15 percent. That’s an additional 2.1M EVs for a total of 7.2M in the world today.

“This is the future and their transformation has started. We should not be left behind,” said Lopez.

With the landscape of the automotive industry rapidly changing with the adoption of EVs, global supply chains are also transforming with new countries joining the mix of vehicle supply hubs and even emerging as new global leaders.

 “We need to take advantage of this trend by turning the Philippines into a regional production hub of EVs, given that almost all ASEAN countries are already doing the same,” Lopez said.