The say everything is better in the Philippines, and soon that tourist-agency tagline might also apply to traffic on the tropical islands. What is now a somewhat dirty, noisy situation in its larger metro areas could be cleaner and quieter if the goal of one million electric vehicles (EVs) by 2020 is achieved.
That would be quite an accomplishment, considering that there are only about 500 battery-powered vehicles – mostly electric trikes and jeepneys – navigating the streets now, but the Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (EVAP) feels that a million is a reasonable target to aim for. At the 3rd Electric Vehicle Summit, recently held in Pasig, the group proposed the one million figure and outlined what is needed to achieve it.
Like most places, government is seen as the key to to boosting EV numbers. Instead of roadblocks – Manny Pangilinan, the chairman of the Manila Electric Company (MERALCO) reportedly can't drive his Tesla Model S on public roads because of registration issues – the organization is lobbying for legislation that would include such things as excise and import tax exemptions, as well as registration and parking perks.
Already, some government agencies are taking steps that could help move things in a positive direction. The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) is phasing out use of buses and mini-buses more than 13 years old and is considering doing the same with public utility jeepneys with more than 15 birthdays. That would create a huge market for newer, cleaner vehicles to drive into.
Phasing out older vehicles would create a huge market for newer, cleaner vehicles to drive into.
Private industry is also poised to take advantage of the opportunity. Philippine Utility Vehicle Inc. (PhUV) has just signed an agreement with the Taiwanese firm TECO that could see a huge increase in local production of electric jeepneys, and have already teamed up for a bid to build as many as 100,000 e-trikes. While the one million mark by 2020 might seem ambitious, it certainly looks like the effort is there to make it happen.
To get a glimpse of some of the challenges faced by Filipino vehicle makers as well as one solution, scroll down below for a look at the presentation video for the innovative Pecolo e-trike produced by Prozza.