Amid car plant closures, group seeks government push for electric vehicles

e-jeeps

Alarmed by the series of closures of car manufacturing plants in the country, a group of automotive parts manufacturers is strongly advocating for the government’s sold support for the country’s electric vehicle (EV) sector, as well as the jeepney modernization program.

In a report by the Manila Bulletin, Ferdinand Raquelsantos, chairman of the Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (EVAP), stressed that the production of EVs is good for the country since it can provide its own supply and also potential exports.

“Jeepney modernization and electric vehicles would be able to replace the lost completely knocked down operations of giant car firms in the country,” Raquelsantos was quoted as saying.

Nissan will wind down its local manufacturing operations this March, while Honda closed its plant in March last year.

Raquelsantos further pointed out that car assemblies in the Philippines could not be competitive because of a lack of economies of scale or no volume.

But with the jeepney modernization program seen to be losing momentum, EVAP is looking forward to the passage of Senate Bill 1382 or the Electric Vehicles and Charging Station Act initiated by Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, who chairs the Senate Committee on Energy. However, the bill was up for second reading as of March 2020, according to the chamber’s website.

If enacted in its current form, the bill would require private and public buildings and establishments, including gasoline stations, to have dedicated parking slots with charging stations. It would also mandate large industrial and commercial firms, public transport operators, and government agencies to have five percent of their respective fleets comprised of EVs.

Raquelsantos also expressed the confidence of foreign investors in EVs for as long as government comes up with attractive incentive packages and a competitive business environment.

He further noted that 20% of EV firms in the Philippines have remained closed — including his own company, though the body builders are still operational, as they assemble from imported chassis. The EV sector also reduced its workforce by 35%, but Raquelsantos is hoping that things would normalize this year.

 

Photo from Eco-Business website.

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