Multi-sector planning continues for Philippines’ shift to electric two and three-wheelers

Edmund Araga of the Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines

October 1, 2018

Stakeholders continue to discuss and take steps towards the integration of electric two and three-wheelers into Philippine urban transport systems.

Speaking at a roundtable discussion on September 6 in Manila, United Nations (UN) Environment Programme Officer and discussions facilitator Bert Fabian said the Philippines’ shift to electric vehicles was progressing, and would have substantial air pollution and climate change benefits, as well as fossil fuel savings.

The event, jointly organized by Clean Air Asia and UN Environment, gathered representatives from various government agencies, industry associations, academic and research institutions, and non-governmental organizations to discuss progress towards the Philippines’ implementation of the project “Integrating Electric 2&3 Wheelers into Existing Urban Transport Modes in Developing and Transitional Countries” supported by the International Climate Initiative of Germany’s Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety.

Starting off with updates on the two and three-wheeler inventory and baseline study being carried out, Clean Air Asia Transport Specialist Joemier Pontawe said data from the Land Transportation Office (LTO) showed that of the 5 million vehicles registered in 2002, two and three-wheelers accounted for 43 percent, rising to 60 percent of the total 10 million motor vehicles registered in 2017.

“This reveals a surge in two and three-wheelers within a decade, and it is important to note we only have information on gasoline-powered two and three-wheelers and none yet on electric units that have entered the market,” Mr Pontawe said.

LTO representatives said a technical working group was finalizing the categorization of electric two-wheelers, based on attributes such as maximum speed and weight, to ensure clarity in vehicle registration.

In discussing the local manufacturing potential of electric vehicles, Edmund Araga of the Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (eVAP), said that one of their goals was to produce the first locally made electric jeepneys in the Philippines, specifically 10,000 electric jeepneys by 2025 and 200 charging stations by 2022 in line with the government’s PUV Modernization Program. However, despite the optimistic outlook and joint ventures with foreign manufacturers that resulted from the 1st ASEAN EV Summit organized by eVAP in 2017, the industry remained concerned with the lack of clarity on registration guidelines.

“The formulation of EV standards and of test procedures are among the industry targets indicated in the 2017 Philippine EV Industry Roadmap,” Mr Araga said.

Dr Horizon Gitano from Focus Applied Technologies of Malaysia emphasized the importance of developing standards for the safety of operators, passengers and other road users, for product quality, and for compatibility of infrastructure.

Paul Catalan, who chairs the Technical Committee 44 Sub-committee 21 of the Department of Trade and Industry’s Bureau of Philippine Standards (DTI-BPS), said 23 Philippine National Standards on electric road vehicles had been adopted, with several more underway for 2018 adoption.

“However, it’s important to develop the test facility in parallel so you can measure and verify the technical specifications you have developed,” Dr Gitano said. “We should be developing standards to challenge technology developers and absolutely eliminate deficient low-quality products to avoid disappointing the users.”

A related study being undertaken by Mitsubishi Motors and the Department of Trade and Industry in partnership with De La Salle University (DLSU) was also presented to the group. “We are working with other academic institutions in conducting stakeholder consultations to develop an electric vehicle study to provide inputs on the development of policies and programs for increased demand and uptake of electric vehicles,” said Dr Jose Bienvenido Biona, Director of the DLSU’s Center for Engineering and Sustainable Development Research.

The next steps include a harmonization of policies on electric two and three-wheelers to be facilitated by the Department of Transportation (DOTr). “Moving forward, we indeed need to know how to verify the standards being developed, and ensure regulations are not too stringent and technical which could make very challenging their implementation,” said Titus Ragragio from the DOTr.

“We would need to link this effort to the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), and we would need continued collaboration with DOTr to do this,” Mr Fabian said. “An understanding of the market and enhanced cooperation with key stakeholders, including the industry, would be important in the development of suitable and sustainable interventions and in the promotion of technological innovation to aid the transition to electric mobility.”

Presentations:

Araga – The Electric Vehicle Industry Development in the Philippines

Biona – Electric Vehicle Policy Study Overview

Catalan – Local EV Standards Update

Clean Air Asia – Roundtable Discussion on Integrating Electric 2&3-Wheelers into Existing Urban Transport Modes

Fabian – Electric 2&3-Wheelers

Gitano – Light Duty Electric Vehicle Standards in Malaysia