E-vehicle makers seek to sustain growth momentum

Danessa Rivera - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Electric vehicle (EV) makers are urging the government to reconsider the cancellation of the electric tricycle (e-trike) program of the Department of Energy (DOE), and put up a financing program with other agencies to help sustain the fledging industry’s growth.

In a position paper, the Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (EVAP) said the DOE e-trike program has put the Philippines in the global EV map and calling off the program stunts the growth of the EV industry, which is just starting to take off.

Instead, the government could set up a Green Financing Program using government financial institutions as loan conduits to provide financing for EV players.

“This could be administered by either the DOTr (Department of Transportation) or the DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government) whose functions are more attuned to the conditions under which the e-trike program will be implemented,” EVAP president Rommel Juan said.

Last week, DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi said the agency is discontinuing the e-trike program under the joint $504-million EV program with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) announced in 2012 because of the steep prices of units and lack of charging stations in localities.

However, EVAP is imploring government to help sustain the momentum of the local EV industry, which has already attracted various foreign investments into the country, Juan said.

“This will not only help preserve our environment but generate new job opportunities, bring in foreign investors, reduce our dependence on fossil fuel importations thus saving us precious dollars and generate additional taxes for the government as well,” he said.

EV is actually already working in the country, EVAP said, noting there are already electric jeepneys running in Makati, Muntinlupa, Filinvest City and Ateneo de Manila, among others, and successful e-trike deployments in the cities of Mandaluyong, Bacoor, Cavite, Naga and Boracay.

“All of these simply prove that electric vehicles already work, can be mass-produced locally by local technicians, engineered by Filipino engineers and are therefore already available locally in commercial volumes,” Juan said.

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