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Even if current road infrastructures and legislation still provide minimal if not zero support for electric vehicles (EVs), many car manufacturers are pushing ahead with introducing their full-EV models in the Philippines. And despite EVs still being quite a novelty here, Filipino motorists are apparently ready to ditch their ICEs (internal combustion engines) in favor of electric mobility, if we go by a recent Frost & Sullivan study commissioned by Nissan that showed 45 percent of Filipino car drivers intending to purchase an EV within the next three years.

It’s not just that more Filipino motorists are aware of the positive implications of EVs on climate change, it’s also about cost savings in the long run. Referring to the same study, Nissan Philippines explained to this writer on Feb. 20 that 56 percent of Filipinos surveyed recognized that maintenance costs for an EV would be lower than that of a conventional car.

Still, 31 percent of those surveyed thought the opposite was true, believing the cost of EV ownership would be more expensive. “This is where we will continue our educational efforts, especially when we launch the Nissan Leaf in the country,” NPI stressed.

Ma. Fe Perez Agudo, president and CEO of Hari (Hyundai Asia Resources Inc, which carries the Kona EV) and Changan Motor Philippines Inc. (which offers the Eado EV460), told this writer on Feb. 19: “Filipinos are cost driven. However, they also appreciate value when they see it. We still need to propagate the truth of how the social, environmental, and economic benefits of using EVs far outweigh the costs. EV adoption will address severe air pollution and its threats to public health; it will also generate new industries, like EV parts manufacturing and the construction of charging infrastructure.”

Agudo, who is also the president of Avid (Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors Inc.), added, “The Philippines has 5 percent of global nickel reserves and 4 percent of global cobalt reserves, which are important to the manufacturing of EV batteries.”

She said that among the things that should be addressed in order to change the local market mindset to favor EVs is the cost of owning one in the long run.

“It appears that the cost of switching from ICE-powered vehicles to EVs is still high. Taking into account the total cost of ownership (maintenance and power), owning an EV can be more economical in the long-run, not to mention the zero environmental costs–which we usually take out of the equation,” Agudo pointed out.

Rommel Sytin, president of United Asia Automotive Group Inc (distributors of Chery and Foton brands in the Philippines), is himself upbeat on the future of EVs here. 

“Price would be the number one driver to get more people to consider and actually buy an EV. Our Chery Arrizo 5E already has the range to travel a week’s worth of daily commuting, so you only have to charge them every weekend. Given equivalent prices, consumers will save a lot on fuel expenses, from P5,000 to P8,000 a month. That’s a compelling reason for buying an EV. Other reasons are reduced maintenance costs—no more oil and coolant changes, never a fear of overheating, etc.”

Yes, we’re just getting started about the cost benefits of EV ownership.

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