It is time to put more serious thought on why you, your neighbor and your friends should shift to electric or hybrid vehicles. Or why commuters should expect more government action to encourage motorists to drive green vehicles.
First, a review on why: “Burning fossil fuels like gasoline and diesel releases carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. The buildup of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases like methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) is causing the Earth’s atmosphere to warm, resulting in changes to the climate we are already starting to see today.” (US Environmental Protection Agency)
And a statement from the United Nations: “Climate Change is the defining issue of our time and we are at a defining moment. From shifting weather patterns that threaten food production, to rising sea levels that increase the risk of catastrophic flooding, the impacts of climate change are global in scope and unprecedented in scale.”
In addition to the reasons why we need to help save the planet, the need to consider green modes of private transportation is now more urgent to the consumer because of the steady increase in the prices of fuel which had even gone up to more than ₱70 a liter sometime last year. Today, fuel is about ₱63 to ₱66 a liter but the possibility of price increases is still there mainly because of the Russia-Ukraine war.
But going EV (electric vehicle) or hybrid may not be an easy decision. First: prices of EVs and hybrid vehicles are more expensive than the fuel-fed vehicles which most still drive in the country.
Second, there is the “range anxiety” factor in driving an EV as there is a limited number of charging stations especially outside Metro Manila. The EV vehicles now available in the Philippine market have batteries that can travel from 200 to 550 kilometers before going empty.
The practical choice may be the hybrid vehicles, the ones that run on both electric power and fuel, with a system that will shift the source of power from the fuel-fed engine to electric engine at a certain speed range. But hybrids are not zero emission vehicles, unlike the EVs.
Ayala, Robinsons and SM Malls have started installing EV charging stations at selected malls in Metro Manila.
Pilipinas Shell also launched its first Shell Recharge site in Shell Mamplasan, as the first Shell-branded charger and currently the most powerful DC high performance fast charger located along Philippine expressways.
Ayala-led Integrated MicroElectronics, Inc. (IMI) has announced plans to put up at least 20 charging stations by next year.
Solarius EV recently announced plans to launch a network of nationwide public EV charging stations, targeting 180 charging stations by end of 2023 and more than 500 by 2025. The Fairmont Raffles Hotel in Makati is Solarius’ first location partner in Metro Manila to provide EV charging facilities for its guests.
While the infrastructure for EVs is being rolled out, the Electric Vehicle Industry Development Act (EVIDA) law was recently passed to hasten the shift to EVs which have zero emissions. The law provides for certain tax exemptions and several non-fiscal incentives for distributors and buyers of EVs, such as tax exemptions to lower its prices. It also exempts EVs from the coding scheme, allowing the cars on the road seven days a week.
Will all these factors hasten the shift to EVs or hybrids?