DEMAND for electric vehicles (EVs) in the Philippines remains low, the Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines said, citing barriers best addressed by local government units (LGUs) and the National Government, such as vehicle quality and price.

“The reason why we are not having much activity on the e-vehicles supply side is there is not much demand,” Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines Executive Director Jose Bienvenido Manuel M. Biona said at an online forum, “Mobility: Building an E-vehicle Ecosystem.”

“One of the reasons also why we are not having much demand is because there are some problems with the quality and the price of the e-vehicles. These are all interconnected, and we will be needing some integrated solutions,” he added.

In his presentation Wednesday, Mr. Biona said performance, reliability and uncertainty about vehicle durability are issues, as are lack of familiarity with e-vehicles, technological inertia, concerns about flooding, negative prior user experience, and lack of credit support for vehicle purchases.

He added that the government’s capacity to provide significant support for adoption is limited.

He said LGUs can promote e-mobility adoption by organizing pilot and demonstration programs and supporting first adopters.

The National Government can provide investment incentives for e-jeepneys, as well as ease the import process for quality EV components while shielding the industry from competition from imports of fully-assembled vehicles. 

Global EV sales are expected to grow from four million units in 2021 to 35 million in 2030, Arthur R. Tan, chief executive officer of AC Industrials and Integrated Micro-Electronics, Inc., said.

“I think one of the key things that we always grapple with here in the Philippines, and one that a lot of people have asked me about is that number one, yes, it is happening all over the world, but it’s probably not going to happen in the Philippines yet. Why is that so? It’s because we are not ready for it, and it’s too expensive, and we’ll continue to be a fossil-based economy as far as mobility is concerned,” he added.

“All the car manufacturers (worldwide), every single one of them, have determined that they will transition to electric vehicles by the end of the decade. Therefore, my question is always… when the time comes that all the car companies will only produce electric vehicles, what cars are Filipinos going to buy?”

He said the time is right to determine its plans for e-vehicle charging infrastructure.

The growth of EVs can happen only with a “robust ecosystem” that needs the support of the government and the private sector, he said. — Arjay L. Balinbin