Since 2012, EVAP’s inception, the struggle for the development of the electric vehicle has been an uphill battle. It wasn’t a secret that oil companies were lobbied against this and Government agencies, like the Department of Finance and DOTC were stymied on how to classify these vehicles in such a short time.
Fortunately, the EVAP has not only passed these obstacles, but has actually flourished. New technology from foreign suppliers, more relaxed government rules and public acceptance helped the campaign tremendously.
At this year’s convention held at the MERALCO Multi Purpose gym, dozens of delegates were in attendance with notable participation of more foreign dignitaries and suppliers. Noticeable was the younger age of the participants and this could be due to awareness of the environment brought upon by social media and intensive information campaign. It’s also been boosted indirectly by the fluctuating world oil prices.
The first day of the convention was composed of key persons from the association and government, from the legislature, represented by DIWA Partylist representative Emmeline Aglipay-Villar and Dr. Eva Ofemia, Assistant Director of DENR-EMB.
Leading the conference were Mr. Ferdinand Raquel Santos, Chairman, Mr. Rommel T. Juan, President, Chairman and President respectively Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (EVAP). Representing foreign suppliers were Mr. John Aitchison VP Sales of Seycon Ltd, Mr. Grayson Richards, KYTO Design and for local sourcing, Ms. Yvette Castro, VP Sales and Marketing for Electric Tricycles.
Mr. Juan acknowledged that the target of 100,000 versus 30,000 actual units being used is already considered a major victory for EVAP. Theres still a long way to go but actual usage is a very good achievement. Mr. Juan also cited Mandaluyong City and Filinvest, Alabang as prime examples of actual e-trike usage in a community.
Legal hurdles such as MMDA classification, number coding exemptions, tax exemptions and LTO registration are now being resolved now, but as the Aquino administration ends, the EVAP is hopeful that the next administration will be more receptive to the electric car program, and will fast track the implementation.
When questioned why the electric bus program was halted, Mr. Ferdinand R. Santos said that the prohibitive price of the bus (Php4M to Php11m per unit) was a major factor in the postponement. Although EDSA bus operators’ interest was high in the electric bus, the cost and tax issues have to be resolved first.
An impressive lineup of E-vehicles was parked outside the venue. Several local and foreign suppliers were on hand showing of their products. One of the more interesting displays is the electric powered Toyota Vios and a KIA Picanto by LE Guider International. Nothing on the exterior differentiates the car from others, but as soon as you open the hood, what used to be a gasoline engine bay now is a battery box and an electric motor. Other displays featured a myriad of tricycles and motorcycles, and one even featured an electric powered mountain bike, but only one company offered a solar powered trike, with the solar panels also acting as the roof.
All in all, the future of the electric vehicle is enlightening. Public perception of the e-vehicle is at its highest, thanks to environmental speakers like Al Gore or Leonardo de Caprio. It’s also made fashionable because of the TESLA and it’s maker Elon Musk. The Electric Vehicle is no longer the boring golf cart that used to represent it, it’s now stylish and eco-friendly.
Words and Photos by Earl Manalansan