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It would seem that the spiking oil prices in world and local markets in the last couple of months has helped renew interest in electric vehicles (eVs) in the country, despite the price rollbacks in the last two weeks.

This has been the observation of advocates representing the two most visible eV organizations in the country—the Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (eVAP) and the Electric Vehicle Owners Society (eVOS).

eVAP president Edmund Araga said that every spike in fuel prices “paves the way for the advantages of using an eV over an ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicle.” He hopes that such market developments would hasten the passage of the bill promoting the use of eVs, particularly during the bicameral conference committee on Nov 23. “We are hoping that it will be signed within the year,” he said.

eVAP chair Rommel T. Juan confirmed that the group has gotten more inquiries on eVs due to the successive spikes in fuel prices.

“Right now, it’s really a promotion of the eVs already available. And, of course, the push for the approval of the bill that will lower the cost of eVs would still be the most important factor for eV adoption in the country,” Juan explained.

Safe Trips resumed

It was in this context of oil market volatility that last week’s Safe Trips caravan jointly organized by Nissan Philippines and the Department of Tourism carried the added urgency of adopting alternative-powered vehicles. The Safe Trips campaign—interrupted by travel restrictions resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic—resumed with a tour from Manila to Boracay. Nissan brought its Leaf eV.

Ferdinand Raquelsantos, eVOS president, was with Juan and Araga during the Boracay tour. He explained, “With the increasing fuel costs, eV owners enjoy more the advantages of driving eVs. The 60-percent savings when compared to using ICEs not only saves money, but also helps save our environment.  So, we’re seeing a lot of people getting interested in EVs.”

Raquelsantos, Rommel Juan and Araga joining the other VIPs at the Nissan Leaf presentation at Movenpick Boracay.

Raquelsantos added that the eV market has also been adding more options. “There are now a lot of car manufacturers offering new eV models in both passenger cars and commercial categories. This is why the coming bicameral session on the eV bill is so important. Its approval will provide us fiscal and non-fiscal incentives.”

Araga said that the Safe Trips campaign “would be an opportunity to accelerate our advocacy for the public to switch to electric mobility. The caravan is an eye-opener for consumers, in that it addresses their concerns on range anxiety, proving that such a long road trip using EVs is doable.”

Juan described the caravan as a “big eye-opener for the LGU officers, the Malay Mayor, resort owners and top management of hotels. They saw that the Nissan Leaf, running entirely on electricity, was able to run from Manila to Boracay. And it was also shown that, aside from just being an eV, it may also be a source of power in times of calamity and power outages. We hope to support more of these activities, and we applaud Nissan for leading the way.”

Previously, on Nov 6, eVAP, the Department of Energy, car manufacturers and partners also held an eco-run for eVs. DOE Director Patrick Aquino said, “On the part of the government, we are very much committed to seeing more eVs here. Hopefully, you can also be present in echoing our message to your congressmen, representatives and senators, that we can finish the bicameral conference towards the end of the month so the bill will be passed and approved into law. We can expect that each sector, end-user will get benefits and incentives to help accelerate this.”

IN MAIN PHOTO: The Nissan Leaf serving as shuttle car for Nissan Philippines, Inc. president Atsushi Najima and other VIP guests of the NissanXDOT Safe Travels drive in their visit to the Fairways and Bluewater Golf and Country Club in Boracay island.

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