ELECTRIC vehicle adoption will increase if government takes charge of making relevant policy changes. This is one of the most crucial conclusions experts made at the 7th Philippine Electric Vehicle Summit.
This year’s summit focused on establishing a national regulatory framework for the use of electric vehicles and the establishment of charging stations, two of the obstacles that have slowed down electric vehicle adoption in the country.
According to various experts present, many of the country’s lead agencies are already on the right track studying regulatory changes. There are some policies that need to be relaxed, some revised, others revoked and new ones added to propagate the use and allow the registration of electric vehicles.
Secretary Ramon M. Lopez of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) delivered the keynote address where he expressed government’s full support for the electric vehicle industry. Lopez mentioned the strides his agency has taken to ensure there is consistent support in terms of policy and implementation.
“Policy and regulation is now not a big issue as it was, say five years ago, because there is a deeper understanding of the needs of the industry. Government is responding to the needs of the EV sector and the local industry needs to keep up with the pace of electric vehicle development globally,” Edmund A. Araga, President, Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (eVAP) said.
The eVAP has been at the forefront of promoting the growth of the local EV industry. First, focusing on the use of battery-powered vehicles for public transportation. Araga said the eVAP is encouraged to push through more activities to both enliven the sector and encourage carmakers to bring in more cars after changes in regulations on importation, registration and use of these kinds of vehicles happen.
Currently, for example, electric vehicle registration is still unclear because of the Land Transportation Office’s (LTO) rules on engine displacement or fuel type.
Other experts at the summit said that the market will eventually force related government agencies to take charge of the situation. Popular car brands like the Hyundai, Nissan and Mitsubishi, as well as China carmakers BYD, Dongfeng and local manufacturers like Bemac and Tojo are all looking at retail sector acceptance as a key to the growth of the industry.
“We are highly encouraged by the support we are getting from major automotive manufacturers which is a very strong indication that our transportation sector is slowly but steadily transitioning to more modern, energy efficient, greener and sustainable mobility so that we can create cleaner and better cities for our children,” Araga emphasized.
Senator Win Gatchalian, Chairperson of the Committee on Energy, spoke and principal author of Senate Bill 2137 spoke about proposed National Energy Policy and an EV Regulatory Framework. He told summit participants that there is a need to solve issues throughout the whole supply chain, but particularly instructing the Department of Energy to create an electric vehicle roadmap and a distribution utilities plan that will incorporate a charging stations infrastructure in the DOE Power Development Plan.
Part of this measure is to require private and public buildings to have dedicated parking slots with charging stations and mandates open access for the installation of charging stations in gasoline stations. It also advocates more non-fiscal incentives, such as exemption from number coding and prioritization in registration, and institutionalizes time-bound fiscal incentives for manufacturers and importers of electric vehicles.
Nissan Motor Corp. Ltd. and Mitsubishi Motors Corp. took turns in talking about their EV mobility solutions. Nissan’s Yutaka Sanada, regional senior vice president and head of Asia and Oceania, spoke on the Nissan Leaf and its abilities to supply power back to the grid while Mitsubishi’s Takahasi Hiromatsu, assistant division general manager for product strategy explained the merits of the PHeV hybrid Outlander, which is the company’s top selling electric SUV.
In the second PEVS in 2012, the eVAP already pushed through with training programs in cooperation with the TESDA to train technicians for EV vehicle assembly and maintenance. For the 7thPEV Summit, the eVAP launched its Academe Chapter project, which seeks the assistance of the Ateneo de Manila, De La Salle University, Don Bosco Technical School, Mapua Institute of Technology, Polytechnic University of the Philippine and the University of the Philippines for projects and programs that are related to electric vehicles.
“Accelerating our country’s transition to fossil free driving would require, more than ever, the help of our academic institutions in terms of research, innovation, industry linkage, trainings, among others. That’s why this year, we are launching the eVAP Academe Chapter to help close the knowledge gap that is holding back our countrymen from choosing electric vehicles and to help our local EV industry address the barriers to widespread EV adoption,” Araga explained.
Plenary sessions on developing the Philippine EV industry through cooperation and collaboration, addressing the EV infrastructure challenge through learnings from abroad on building a robust EV ecosystem for the country highlighted the summit as presentations on successful EV deployments in the country were shown.
For this year’s EV Summit, the eVAP president mentioned that its E-Mobility Award is being relaunched to recognize organizations and individuals for their outstanding contribution to the realization of eVAP’s vision and mission through successful EV deployments, advocacy efforts, or through innovations that aim to simplify and increase the electrification process.
EV exhibition showcased many vehicles including the Hyundai Ioniq and Kona Electric. The Ioniq is already available at P1.8M and can already be registered because it uses a conventional low-emission gasoline as part of its power train. Several EV test-drive sessions offered rides and drives using various electric vehicles, including the Ioniq.
Last year, the 6th PEVS gathered over 1,000 participants from industry key players across the value chain as well as policy makers, regulators, academe, transport companies, utilities and end users. Foreign delegates from over a dozen countries have seen their network grow by participating in this event.
The 7th Philippine Electric Vehicle Summit happend last themed: “Electric Vehicles: Modernizing the Transportation Landscape, Driving Sustainable Growth”, happening on July 17 and 18, 2019 at the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City, will focus on ensuring an enabling environment for the commercialization of electric vehicles in the Philippines and realizing the EV Industry’s potential as a key contributor to the country’s goal of achieving climate resilience, energy security and sustainable growth.
IT was not surprising to see Hyundai move from a booth that was surreptitiously on the side of the last two Philippine Electric Vehicle Summits to a full size display just at the entrance of the activity. And why not? With two full electric and another hybrid vehicle not only on display, but a running hybrid available for test drive.
The display and test drive happened last July 17-18, 2019 at the 7th Philippine Electric Vehicle Summit organized by the Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (EVAP).
"We are here to show how accessible Hyundai's electric vehicle technology is, and in our test drive how convenient will it be for the new generation of environmentally conscious car buyers," Toney Sevilla, Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. (HARI) public relations manager told Techsauceph.
Sevilla echoed HARI President and CEO Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo's position that electric vehicles are the future of mobility. In a statement to the media at the opening of the summit Perez-Agudo stressed this point.
“We at Hyundai believe that electric vehicles are the future of mobility. EVs have the potential to address the pressing concerns Filipinos are facing in terms of energy and environmental sustainability. That’s why we are one with the government and EVAP in advocating sustainable mobility through EVs or new energy vehicles, and we are proud to participate in this important summit," she said in a statement of support for the annual summit which aims to heighten the public’s awareness of electric vehicles’ benefits and share industry success stories about EV adoption in the country.
As Hyundai brings these convenient and accessible electric vehicle technology to the automotive market, aiming to empower sustainability and innovative the cars of tomorrow, it also levels into a playing field where Toyota, with its Prius Hybrid, Nissan with its all-electric Leaf and Mitsubishi with its PHEV and i-MiEV cars are also positioned. Of these makers only Toyota has made actual sales of its alternative-fuel Prius.
Hyundai however has made it known that the Ioniq may be available for P1.8M. No pricing was given for the all-electric Kona.
"It is a strange and different experience to drive the Ioniq," Jimmy Silva., a commercial pilot who test drove the car around the roads surrounding the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City where the Summit was held.
"This is the first time I have driven a hybrid and the experience is unique, especially the acceleration and drive performance when the car engages in electric. It is also comforting to know that the vehicle can generate its own power because one of the fears of many is running out of electric power in the car," Silva explaiend.
“Making the shift to EVs from internal combustion engines in the Philippines requires cooperation between the auto industry, government, transport groups, vehicle owners, and commuters. We look to this summit to build stronger relationships between these sectors and thus bring us closer to the future of mobility," Perez-Agudo concluded.