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Business

Is Phl ready for EVs?

HIDDEN AGENDA - Mary Ann LL. Reyes - The Philippine Star

With the pump prices of gasoline and diesel increasing anew, there has been a renewed interest in vehicles that run on alternative sources of power among Filipinos.

One of the most interesting alternatives is electric vehicles or EVs. But is the Philippines ready for it?

According to the Department of Energy, policies and guidelines for all stakeholders must be in place to attract the necessary investments and effectively integrate EVs and EV charging stations in a robust and sustainable energy system.

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said that the department is pursuing the deployment of 20,000 imported EVs and putting up 5,000 EV charging stations for the next five years. This, he said, would cut fuel use by over 145 million liters or an equivalent of P8 billion in terms of fuel costs.

The Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (EVAP) is optimistic that the issuance of the charging infrastructure guidelines and policy by the DOE will help motivate businesses to put up and adopt EV charging stations by providing fiscal incentives.

For the past decade, total EV registration in the country reached only 12,965, but the number includes not only e-cars, but also e-trikes, e-motorcycles, and e-jeepneys. From 1,570 units in 2019, registration dropped by 35 percent to 1,015 units.

A recent study by Frost & Sullivan revealed that Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand are the top three nations in Southeast Asia with the highest inclination to adopt EVs.

The same study showed that the top three factors that will motivate ASEAN consumers to buy electric cars are better safety standards, environmental awareness, and the low cost of charging the vehicle.

The price of the electric car is obviously a huge determining factor. According to zigwheels.ph, there are a total of 11 electric car models available in the Philippines, the cheapest of which is Changan EADO EV360 2021 at P1.8 million and the most expensive one being Jaguar I-Pace 2021 at P7.59 million.

Electric vehicles can provide many benefits. First and probably the most important is that you do not have to concern yourself anymore with the price of gasoline and diesel. Second is that by buying EVs, you will help reduce air pollution. Third, EVs are said to be cheaper to maintain because they have fewer moving parts prone to break down compared to conventional internal combustion engine vehicles, not to mention there no longer will be any need for periodic oil changes.

Unfortunately, there are very few quick-charging stations currently available. Hopefully, the proposed Electric Vehicles Charging Stations Act, which will require, among other things, that gasoline stations provide EV charging stations and provide fiscal and non-fiscal incentives for the importation, use, and manufacture of EVs, will speed up the creation of the needed enabling infrastructure for EVs in the country.

Recently, Kia Philippines president Emmanuel Aligada revealed plans to introduce Kia AVs into the country, but as to when will depend on how the charging infrastructure and EV ecosystem will develop in the Philippines.

In a virtual press conference, during which the company unveiled its new logo and slogan “Movements that Inspires,” Aligada said that there are plans not only to bring in EVs, but also purpose-built vehicles. However, he said that in the case of EVs, it is the support capabilities that will determine when this would happen, although he expects some level of development next year.

Aligada admits that the last 18 months have been very difficult for the automotive industry and it is still hard to predict the future for the industry. However, on the bright side, he noted that there is renewed confidence, especially with the opening of the economy and the fact that better bank rates are now being offered.

For Kia Philippines, sales are expected to increase by 30 percent next year. Ayala Corp., through its subsidiary AC Industrial Technology Holdings, is the local distributor of Kia vehicles in the Philippines since January 2019.

Still feeling the economy

With our economy highly dependent on remittances from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), it is good to hear that the amount of money being sent home by our foreign-based kababayans continues to increase compared to last year.

Last month, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported a 5.1 percent year-on-year jump in cash remittances last August to $2.6 billion and a 5.7 percent increase in the first eight months this year to $20.38 billion.

According to the BSP, the US is still the biggest remittance source, followed by Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, South Korea, Qatar, and Taiwan. Their combined remittances account for 78.8 percent of total cash remittances.

OFW remittances remain resilient despite the repatriation of more than 700,000 OFWs since the pandemic. The central banking authority expects cash remittances to grow four percent this year after declining by 0.8 percent in 2020.

But more than contributing to the economic recovery of the Philippines, remittances have positively impacted countless Filipino lives on a personal level. Despite the hurdles of being away from home, OFWs continue to provide for their loved ones, contributing to their education, healthcare, and the establishment of their own businesses.

WorldRemit country director for the Philippines Earl Melivo said that they understand the transformative power of remittances and how these improve the lives of Filipinos everywhere. He noted that through remittances, Filipinos have improved different aspects of their lives from providing quality education for their children, to starting their own businesses, and for many, building their dream home.

WorldRemit provides Filipinos working overseas a fast, convenient and secure way to send money to their loved ones in the Philippines. Over the last 11 years, the company has worked to ensure that OFW’s hard-earned money goes further and empowers them to fulfill their dreams and ambitions.

Melchor Galeon, a Filipino living in Canada who founded and manages FV Foods, a successful Filipino food business in Toronto, has worked hard to provide for his family in Toronto, but also to take care of his 86-year-old mother who lives in the Philippines. He sends money to her every month through WorldRemit to pay for her medication and caregivers, as well as her other everyday needs.

Liebe Ann, a Filipina living in Bavaria, Germany, has supported money through WorldRemit. She said the platform enables her to send money to her family almost instantaneously, giving them the resources they need when they need them.

 

 

For comments, e-mail at mareyes@philstarmedia.com

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