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Electric vehicle adoption roadmap pushed

BGC, TAGUIG CITY, Philippines – Department of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi test drives the first ever electric-powered “Green Jeepney” at the Bonifacio Global City during its launching on 20 July 2017. Senator Win Gatchalian believes that by promoting the use of e-vehicles in the country, the Philippines will become less dependent on oil importations. Photo by Mark Cayabyab/OS WIN GATCHALIAN

Senator Win Gatchalian has reiterated the importance of a sound policy and regulatory framework for electric vehicles (e-vehicles) to usher in the uptake of electric vehicles in the country.

During the Senate Committee on Energy hearing on Senate Bill No. 2137 or the Electric Vehicles and Charging Stations Act, Gatchalian quizzed the Department of Energy’s (DOE) long term plan to ensure the promotion of the adoption of electric vehicles and the sustainability of the e-vehicle ecosystem in the long run.

Gatchalian, who chairs the committee, noticed that while the DOE has been promoting the use of e-vehicles, the agency has produced or released only a few policy instruments to support the growth of e-vehicles in the country.

He urged the DOE to craft a roadmap for e-vehicle adoption in the country, in coordination with the Department of Transportation (DOTr), Land Transportation Office, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, and other relevant government agencies.

“Moving forward, we want to see research. Of course, this will not be without opposition. There will be opposition, let’s expect that. But we have to clearly explain the advantages of promoting e-vehicles. I expect the DOE – which is a much larger organization – should have that data. Hindi naman ho tayo puwede mag-promote nang wala ho tayong basis,” the lawmaker pointed out.

“Iyong advantages ng [e-vehicles], it should be quantifiable, or else, it’s very difficult to convince people that this is actually beneficial,” he told the DOE.

SBN 2137, in a nutshell, seeks to address the challenges to the development of the electric vehicle industry by instructing the DOE to create an Electric Vehicle Roadmap and distribution utilities to incorporate a Charging Infrastructure Development Plan in their Power Development Plan.

Through his proposed measure, Gatchalian hopes to solve the entire supply chain of e-vehicles, including one of the most important components: the charging stations.

The measure seeks to require private and public buildings and establishments to have dedicated parking slots with charging stations and mandates open access for the installation of charging stations in gasoline stations.

SBN 2137 also expands non-fiscal incentives – such as exemption from number coding and prioritization in registration – and institutionalizes time-bound fiscal incentives for manufacturers and importers of electric vehicles.

Gatchalian believes that by promoting the use of e-vehicles in the country, the Philippines will become less dependent on oil importations.

“At the same time we would reduce dollar outflows, mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, create more jobs for Filipinos,” he said.

The lawmaker pointed out that at present, the transport sector was the biggest contributor to the country’s total energy consumption, accounting for more than one-third or 37.2 percent. Data from the DOE shows that the transport sector is also a major consumer of petroleum products, consisting of 25.72% of the total 75,370.50 barrels that were consumed in 2016.

Meanwhile, data provided by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) show that 99.48 percent or 8,039,233 out of 8,081,224 of motor vehicles in the country are run by diesel and gasoline.