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President Duterte’s signature needed to make EVs mainstream

President Duterte’s signature needed to make EVs mainstream

It’s not the solution to all of our environmental problems, but the signing of the Evida (Electric Vehicle Industry Development Act) by the country’s chief executive before he finishes his term can surely open the doors to solving a lot of them.

EV advocates expect President Rodrigo Duterte to sign the bill into law within 45 days, or at least before he finishes his term. When he does, the Philippine automotive industry would have then taken that one big step to taking zero-emissions mobility into the mainstream. It opens the real possibility of the country not just being an importer of EVs, but an eventual manufacturer and assembler of such. It makes it feasible for EVs to not just be a novelty for the rich, but for them to be the sustainable main mode of mass transport.

Imagine, if we combine widespread EV use and the renewable energy technology derived from the wind and sun, as well as from geothermal and hydropower plants, then we’d be that close to becoming a net-zero emissions society.

What’s so wonderful about the current power-producing technologies is that it literally gives the power back to the people, and we don’t have to depend on a mega-monopoly to provide us with expensive electricity.

In the Jan. 27 online discussion during the Nissan Blue Switch launch, EV advocates shared how their own power-producing setups at their own homes made them independent of the “grid”.

Ferdinand Raquelsantos, chairman of Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (eVAP) and electrical engineer and Cebu City Councilor Nestor Archival source their energy primarily from the sun and wind.

“We have been a pioneer for the last 15 years of solar rooftop installations. What’s nice is that the EV and solar and wind technologies actually complete the cycle. An EV requires charging stations. The cycle is completed with the charging stations getting their power not from the grid, which would most likely have power produced by fossil fuels, but from renewable energy, which means power sourced from the sun or from the wind,” stressed Raquelsantos.

Archival, on the other hand, demonstrated that an EV like the Nissan Leaf (which he charges from his solar- and wind-powered home) can provide an alternative energy source for communities deprived of power due to calamities (in this case, supertyphoon Odette).

During the panel discussion, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, the principal author of the Evida, said: “(That bill) is close to becoming a law. Signature na lang ni President Duterte.”

To be more specific, the Evida had already been transmitted to the Office of the President on Jan 21. Mr. Duterte was expected to sign it within 30 to 45 days.

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eVAP president Edmund Araga predicted that with the signing of the Evida, the EV industry would become mainstream. He envisioned foreign and local investors establishing EV infrastructures, and offering a wide array of EV models. Araga also expected commercial banks to formulate financing schemes for easier ownership and purchase of EVs, and that mass transport systems would be built around EVs.

“EV technology is already available in other parts of the world, and 90 percent of our constituents in Metro Manila take public transportation, so my dream is to bring this type of technology to our country. I know that the end is near for internal combustion engines. A lot of countries have already pegged a certain time to phase out ICEs. Some brands also have already committed to come up with all-electric vehicle models, they have stopped producing the traditional ICE engines so that means EV is real. The Philippines needs to get ready,” said Gatchalian.

Gatchalian describes the Evida as not just about the adoption of EVs and charging stations, but more about the “promotion of the entire ecosystem, including manufacturing of EVs in the country,” the scope of which encompasses the manufacture, assembly, importation, construction, installation, maintenance, trade and utilization, research and development, and regulation of EVs, charging stations and related equipment, parts and components, batteries, and related support infrastructure.

I’m just hoping that the next administration does fulfill the promises of the Evida, and keeps the switch on for the EV industry.