Are we ready for electric cars?

Is the Philippines, or Davao City for that matter, ready for the era of electric vehicles?

While most car manufacturers have moved towards electric vehicle production, the era of EVs is laregely dependent on how the world’s cities get themselves ready for the new automotive power source.

In the Philippines, Japanese car giant Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) said recently it will market its hybrid electric vehicles in the country only if it sees that the Philippines is ready with the needed infrastructure support and regulatory requisites for such vehicles.

“As soon as we see everything is properly ready—from regulations to physical life refilling stations—we will go forward,” MMC Philippines said in a recent report when asked if the firm was willing to market its e-vehicles in the Philippines.

MMC thinks there are still challenges when it comes to infrastructure to support marketing e-vehicles in the Philippines.

There are some things to iron out first. For one, the country’s infrastructures are not really that much defined yet for electric vehicles. For example, what plate number to use, what is the tax rate that will be applied or how to fill up the electric vehicles especially on long travels. These things have to be established.

In Davao City, there are no public charging stations for electric vehicles or hybrid ones. These are necessary infrastructures if the city so decides to go with the global automotive trend and promote earth-friendly means of transport by helping reduce carbon emissions.

The establishment of charging stations for electric vehicles is a priority. The charging stations could refer to a ‘service station’ designed to simultaneously fast charge multiple vehicles similar to gasoline/diesel stations or a network of at least 5 charging stands.

Application for registration must be accompanied by an endorsement from the Department of Energy-Investment Promotion Office (DOE-IPO).

Car manufacturers anticipating the trend to be adopted in the country like MMC has made strategies to overcome these challenges. However, they have yet to discuss the plan with the relevant stakeholders.

MMC’s e-vehicles are already in the market in other countries, such as in Europe, in the Russian territories, and in Australia.

Recently, MMC delivered five Outlander plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and five Mitsubishi innovative electric vehicles (i-MiEVs) to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), along with four electric vehicle quick charger units. The vehicles will be used by the DENR and other government agencies for business use.

MMC has partnered with the Philippine Government started since February this year through a joint study into environmental load reduction using electric technologies.

Electric vehicles are ideal for emerging cities like Davao given the current traffic congestion.

According to the Electric Vehicles Association of the Philippines (EVAP), there are 28 firms engaged in the manufacturing of various electric vehicles. Complementing these companies are 11 parts and component manufacturers and seven importers. The industry currently provides employment to 14,840 individuals. As the government continues to support the use of electric vehicles, the industry is expected to grow in the coming years.

With sustainable development as one its main thrusts, the Philippine government has been promoting the use of electric vehicles across the country, including as a form of public transportation. Executive Order 488 (s. 2006) was issued to support the manufacturing of e-vehicles, as well as to further reduce the country’s fossil fuel consumption. This issuance reduced the tariff rate for e-vehicle components to zero, thereby allowing e-vehicle manufacturers to import components at a more affordable price.

In Metro Manila, major cities have started to make use of e-vehicles to transport local residents and transient workers. Electric jeeps and electric tricycles are also getting more and more common in the country’s major business districts and urban areas. The establishment of “green cities” is also expected to generate higher demand for e-vehicles for public transportation.

The steady increase in the number of tourist arrivals in the Philippines has led to an increased demand for environmentally sound transport services. Resorts and local government units have started to invest in e-vehicles, such as electric tricycles and electric jeeps, to reduce carbon emission, to preserve the natural beauty of the environment, and to provide transportation to the growing number of tourists. This trend is now gaining momentum due to heightened environmental awareness. E-vehicles can be found in key tourist spots such as Boracay and Palawan.

EVs promote clean air and should complement steps being undertaken by the city government to prioritize health and promote clen environment.

Given that a major cause of pollution is carbon emission, Davao City better get ready for the era of electric vehicles and hybrids.