By Monico D. Mekaniko
Electric vehicles are expected to become widely used as public utility vehicles in the coming years as the government works with private manufacturers, assemblers and developers to ensure widespread adaption and sustainability.
As a result of recent developments in electric vehicle usage for public transport, companies involved in assembly and distribution of such vehicles have recently formed an organization called the Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (EVAP). Its members include vehicle enthusiasts, electric vehicle assemblers and energy consultants.
Part of the group’s activities this year is holding the 2nd Electric Vehicle Summit at the Meralco Compound in Pasig City. It will be attended by e-vehicle experts from Taiwan, Korea and Japan. Car manufacturers such as Toyota and Mitsubishi, both of which have already introduced commercial e-vehicles, are also expected to be present.
According to EVAP President Rommel Juan, the event is the culmination of several years of work from different companies and government agencies that have been working to bring the e-vehicle to the Philippines. He said that e-vehicles would thrive well in the Philippines especially for public transport as the riding public would find riding in these vehicles more comfortable as these do not emit smoke.
In addition, the cost of running an e-vehicle, especially the e-jeepney model, is getting cheaper with parts and service support becoming more available. So far, all of the cities that have launched e-vehicles, including e-jeeps and e-trikes, have so far reported success.
Among the cities that have launched e-vehicles for public transport are Makati, Taguig, Pasig, Mandaluyong, Quezon City, Los Banos in Laguna, Cebu City, Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro, Batangas, Palawan, Boracay and Ilocos.
There are an estimated 400 e-vehicles now in the Philippines, most of which are for public transport.
Citing reports from other members of EVAP, Juan also noted that private institutions have also adapted e-vehicles. For instance, Victory Liner brought the country’s first electricity-powered bus, with plans to invest around P250 million for a production plant to make more buses.
In addition, the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) is looking at the possibility of using a four-wheeled version of electric motorcycles (called quadricycles) to shuttle people to and from their Pasig City headquarters.
Juan noted that the success of e-vehicle adoption in the Philippines is pegged on the strong support of both the private sector and the government. In particular, the government must also mandate the establishment of an infrastructure network to ensure that e-vehicle usage would thrive.
Imagine that, e-vehicles instead of noisy, pollution-making jeepneys on the road!
Till next time, this is Monico D. Mekaniko, Va-va-vroom!