Meralco keen on making e-vehiclesBy Riza T. Olchondra
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) is looking into the possibility of manufacturing electric vehicles, thus boosting the government’s drive toward “green” transport as part of efforts to curb dependence on oil and cut air pollution.
“We would like to invest in the manufacturing facilities for e-vehicles in this country, not alone, because we are not in this business as such. We would like to explore JV [joint venture] possibilities with Filipino partners in manufacturing e-trikes, e-jeepneys, e-buses,” Meralco president and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan said Thursday during the Electric Vehicle Summit.
Pangilinan said the power distributor would likely work with the government in the following ways: build the infrastructure to provide the supply of electricity to e-vehicles, help sort out issues involved in the development of the industry, and build the e-vehicles.
“Our group (of companies) is prepared to invest in the downstream manufacturing capability of this industry for the sake of this country. It is better for us to build rather than import these vehicles,” Pangilinan said.
Pangilinan said Meralco may work with government and with financial institutions such as the Asian Development Bank, as well as the academe such as the College of Engineering of the University of the Philippines.
Meralco has already been approached by a number of foreign companies about the idea of putting up manufacturing facilities for e-vehicles, Pangilinan said.
“We would like to pursue them, the Philippines should take the lead in the region in the development of the industry,” he said.
Meralco said earlier that there are plans to put up charging stations for electric vehicles to support government initiatives in the capital-intensive industry.
The Aquino administration has been pushing for the development of e-vehicles to reduce air pollution.
Meralco officials have said the company is considering technology options for developing fast-charging stations that would also be affordable to consumers.
E-vehicle development initiatives have been gaining traction worldwide as more countries seek to tame oil consumption and reduce pollution.
The Department of Energy (DoE) is supporting e-vehicle development, having already backed the electric tricycle program in partnership with the ADB under the National Electric Vehicle Strategy.
DoE has reported that while the strategy is being developed, DoE will start introducing e-tricycles, e-jeepneys, e-buses, and e-cars with the help of local entrepreneurs and technical experts. The agency is currently developing a sustainable model for introducing electric tricycles.
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