As delivered, 24 September 2020

Ladies and gentlemen, good day.

In bringing the Philippine Electric Vehicle Summit (PEVS) online, the Electric Vehicles Association of the Philippines (EVAP) highlights the significance of being adaptable and innovative with technology in today’s “New Normal.” But even as we adjust to the “New Normal,” let us aim higher in creating a “Better Normal.” Let us envision a future where the Philippines can have a new “industry winner”, the Electric Vehicles.

We must remember that the city of Rome was not built in a day, which is why we are prioritizing the Philippine EV industry now by building a strong foundation for it. But how do we make the EV industry a winner? We can realize this through the continued collaboration between government agencies and the private sector to make the Philippines a regional production hub.

If we are seeing more e-PUVs on our roads today, it is mainly due to the 50 industry players, like local manufacturers Bemac, Tojo Motors, and Star8. What’s more, the industry has a production capacity of 150,000 units per year with a project cost of Php1.305B to produce a wide range of electric vehicle products. We also have major automobile brands aggressively promoting their EV vehicles in the Philippines like Hyundai, Nissan, and Mitsubishi. In fact, Mitsubishi is launching their 2020 Outlander PHEV in the country this September even as Nissan Philippines is bringing in their own Nissan Leaf.

The private sector, especially EVAP, has been working with the government since day one in shaping the emerging industry. EVAP aided the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in drafting the EV Industry Roadmap, as well as various policies to support the industry. EVAP also assisted with the proposed Electric Vehicles and Charging Stations Act, the Land Transportation Office’s (LTO) guidelines for EV registration, and the standards for EVs and their parts and components for the Bureau of Product Standards (BPS).

With the assistance of DTI, EVAP partnered with the Power Battery Application Committee of China Industrial Association of Power Sources (CIAPS-PBA) to develop EV battery technology and manufacturing in the country. Already, Tojo Motors will be sourcing battery cells from CIAP-PBA member, Jiangsu Highstar Battery Manufacturing Company, for the local assembly of EV batteries. We’d also like to point out that the Philippine Nickel Industry Association (PNIA) has partnered with CIAPS-PBA to deepen the Philippine nickel industry’s role in the global battery supply chain.

On our end, the government is committed in its support to enable the Philippine EV industry, especially in helping manufacturers and promoting demand. Our Board of Investments (BOI) offers fiscal and non-fiscal incentives through the Omnibus Investment Code to enterprises registered under our Investments Priorities Plan (IPP). We also have the Motor Vehicle Development Program (MVDP) and Executive Order 488. Likewise, the EV industry will benefit from the government’s PUV Modernization Program and DTI-BOI’s e-Mobility Initiatives. Lastly, the local automotive industry—which includes EVs—is one of 12 priority sectors in DTI’s Inclusive Innovation Industrial Strategy (I³S), which promotes the adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies.

Moving forward, the government can encourage the setting up of charging stations in malls, exemptions for parking fees, and even toll gate discounts. DTI also has a proposed flagship initiative to develop the EV industry with the Electric Vehicle Incentive Strategy (EVIS). This is contained in the House and Senate EV bills, which we are working with the office of Senator Win Gatchalian.

I believe that three key points can give the Philippines a competitive edge in the global EV industry. One, electronics and electronic parts still comprise a strong part of our exports, 59.3% of our total exports in July 2020. Leveraging on our electronics manufacturing strengths and developing auto-electronics and EV components will significantly boost our market share in the EV and Industry 4.0 value chains.

Two, our country is well known for mineral resources used in battery technology, particularly nickel and cobalt. In fact, the Philippines hosts 5% of global nickel reserves and 4% of global cobalt reserves. Let us make use of these valuable reserves to produce high value products such as batteries. We will also continue supporting industry collaborations initiated by EVAP, PNIA, and CIAPS-PBA to develop EV battery technology and manufacturing in the country. Through this, we can build a robust EV ecosystem, generating more jobs and employment in the process.

Three, the Philippines can develop its competency in EV technology similar to how we’ve upskilled in the aerospace industry as we now develop higher value design engineering for aerospace parts. 

To close, as the pandemic brings major changes in our country, we need to channel our energy towards creating a robust EV industry in the country. The Global EV Outlook 2020 of the International Energy Agency (IEA) reported that global sales of electric cars registered a 40% year-on-year increase in 2019 even as the overall car market contracted by 15%. That’s an additional 2.1M EVs for a total of 7.2M in the world today. This is the future and their transformation has started. We should not be left behind.

With the landscape of the automotive industry rapidly changing with the adoption of EVs, global supply chains are also transforming with new countries joining the mix of vehicle supply hubs and even emerging as new global leaders. We need to take advantage of this trend by turning the Philippines into a regional production hub of EVs, given that almost all ASEAN countries are already doing the same.

How do we do this? More than just locally manufacturing e-PUVs, let us envision the Philippines to be a globally competitive and innovative manufacturing hub for strategic EV parts and components like auto-electronics, charging stations, and EV batteries. Let us build a competitive advantage in EV manufacturing by embedding new and advanced technologies in our vehicles, parts and components, manufacturing processes, and business models. And with the application of digital technologies across all levels of the value chain from R&D, manufacturing, sales, and after sales services, we can provide the needed resilience for future shocks and disruptions.

But EVs will only become popular in the country if the price won’t be too prohibitive, if they charge fast enough, and if they’ll run far enough per charge. The challenge to our EV industry is to have enough charging stations around, and having EVs that can travel 500kms on a full charge. We need to develop solutions to or solve the pain points in the industry, particularly battery life and charging time of batteries. On the government’s part, we will provide the enabling environment to establish the necessary infrastructure such as charging and swapping stations, and better regulatory measures for EVs. Moreover, resources also have to be allocated to develop solutions for these concerns. We have to have a holistic approach in developing the local EV ecosystem.

Further, in a future where electric vehicles on our streets become the norm, we will also ensure a clean, green, and sustainable country so that our people remain healthy and safe.

More importantly, as we build a world-class EV industry, we will also generate more jobs and employment for our people that will give them a better quality of life. This is what President Rodrigo Roa Duterte seeks for everyone: the true realization of inclusive growth and shared prosperity for all. I hope all of us can continue to work for this goal, especially as we build a better, brighter, and more sustainable post-COVID-19 future.   

Maraming salamat at mabuhay tayong lahat.

Date of Release: 24 September 2020