Shifting to electric vehicles gives operators of public utility vehicles the assurance of fast franchise processing with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) as the units come with the guarantee of being non-pollutive.
Senior science research specialist of the Department of Energy (DOE) came to Bohol on October 24 to promote the shift to e-vehicles to transport groups in Bohol, local chief executives, and the academe in line with the current administration’s direction to “to use cleaner, alternative energy fuels like the auto LPG, natural gas and e-vehicles for the transport sector”.
Engr. Jorge Vincent Bitoon, a senior science research specialist of DOE, explained that the program on next generation vehicles facilitates market transformation through the introduction of Energy Efficient Electric Vehicles (E-Trike) Project.
“Old tricycles driven by 2-stroke engines emit harmful gases and noisy mufflers which are harmful to health and environment,” according to Bitoon.
The national government, through the DOE and the Department of Finance, has forged partnership with the Asian Development Bank in the implementation of the e-trike pilot project.
“Tricycles have been the most reliable form of public transport for the Filipinos. Most tricycle drivers tend to overload their tricycles to increase their daily income which is not a safe practice wherein passenger safety and comfort is compromised,” Bitoon added.
Japan also offers Non-Project Grant Aid (NPGA) which is intended to “support the economic and social development of developing countries through the provision of Japanese-made next generation vehicles; deployment of next generation vehicles to complement the government’s rehabilitation efforts in areas affected by Typhoon Yolanda; and to promote the use of efficient and environment-friendly AFVs.
Bitoon said there are 85 units of next-generation vehicles- -77 hybrid vehicles, four plug-in hybrid EVs, and four electric vehicles including charging stations.
Among the beneficiaries are the PNP police stations in Region 8 that were devastated by the Typhoon Yolanda; national government agencies (NGAs) in Region 8 that are instrumental to emergency response operations and rehabilitation; and NGAs involved in the conduct of research, performance testing and promotion of alternative fuel vehicles.
Bitoon described that the DOE E-Trike Model is a three-wheeled vehicle with five-passenger capacity (excluding driver); 5 kW electric motor; 3.2 kWh lithium-ion (TOSHIBA) battery; on-board charger; motor controller; battery management system (BMS); 40 kph speed at full load capacity; can negotiate up to 14 degrees slope; can traverse flood water up to 300mm; five-year warranty on e-trike unit; and five-year warranty on lithium ion battery or 80,000 kms (whichever comes first).
Under the Electric Vehicles Program, there are now about 8,000 EVs demonstrated nationwide- -Davao City, Makati City, Boracay, Taguig City, Cavite, Puerto Princesa in Palawan, and Mandaluyong City.
The DOE had also conducted promotion and demonstration of EVs in major cities such as Taguig City, Mandaluyong City, Makati City, and Bacoor City.
Bitoon also said there are existing e-trikes in Metro Manila, Cavite, Boracay, Surigao, Puerto Princesa, and Davao.
An e-trike costs P200,000-P490,000; while an e-jeep costs P700,000 to P1 million; an e-bus, P8-10 million for E-Bus; and an e-bike, P10,000–P20,000.
The environmental benefits of EVs include the absence of tail pipe emission; and having less noise and vibration which enhances comfort.
It is also beneficial technology-wise as it has few moving parts and that its charging can be done overnight when electricity demand is low, according to Bitoon.
Existing charging infrastructures are located at Makati Central Fire Station for E-Jeeps, Mandaluyong City for E-Trikes, Bacoor City for E-Trikes, and Boracay Island for E-Trikes.
The current administration promotes e-vehicles to “reduce dependence on transport sectors annual petroleum consumption; to deploy locally made e-trikes powered by Lithium-ion batteries to key cities and municipalities nationwide; and for carbon dioxide avoidance by shifting to tricycle running on pure electricity; to establish associated EV support industries such as charging stations, motor and parts supply chain, maintenance and repair services; and alleviate the standard of living of tricycle drivers.
“The project will significantly improve the quality of life of the beneficiaries of E-Trike; promote the use of cleaner and more efficient vehicles; reduce health cost and economic impact of lost productivity as a result to air pollution; stimulate the market for E-Trike related support services such as charging stations, repair and maintenance shops, parts and supply services,” according to Bitoon.
The registration of e-vehicles is governed by Administrative Order AHS-2008-014 entitled “Guidelines in the Registration of Low Speed Vehicles (LSV)”.
The AO covers four-wheeled electric vehicles; and exemption from smoke emission testing.
Orange plate and stickers are issued to private vehicles; while yellow plate and orange stickers are for public vehicles or vehicles for hire.
AO 2006-01 or “Guidelines in the Registration of Light Electric Vehicles (LEV)” covers 2-wheeled and 3-wheeled electric vehicles.
As to ordinances and regulations by other local government units (LGUs), e-vehicles are exempted from number coding scheme; have longer years for franchise effectivity; and preferential franchise or routes approval for e-trike.
Moreover, Executive Order 226 or the Omnibus Investments Code provides fiscal and non-fiscal incentives to emerging industries listed under the Investment Priorities Plan (IPP).
“The IPP already lists alternative fuel vehicles, including the establishment of charging stations for electric vehicles, as priority areas,” Bitoon added.
Aside from e-vehicles, vehicles running on natural gas are also granted incentives.
Bitoon said compressed natural gas (CNG) is also being promoted now by the government and the government makes the CNG as pilot to make the public aware that there are resources that can be tapped.
However, the units are imported original equipment manufactured (OEM) since there is no CNG vehicle manufacturer in the Philippines.
The difference only in the AutoLPG industry is that the Auto-LPG a private-driven where it is the market that dictates.
Bitoon explained that what happened was that the company approached taxi fleets and offered their product which came with free conversion of their units to LPG-run and from that, they forged a tie-up.
It was then between the taxi fleets and the Auto-LPG company
The CNG, on the other hand, has the participation of the government as to its promotion.
What the government can provide is the fiscal and non-fiscal incentives for those manufacturing.
Even with this, the consumer or the owner of the vehicle may also tie up with the CNG company and may negotiate so that the CNG provider may be convinced to shoulder the conversion of the units as it would also help promote the product.
It may start up their investment here in the Philippines through the partnership with private consumers.
Bitoon also explained that there highly-skilled companies that are accredited to convert to gas-run to CNG-run vehicles.
He said the CNG buses has tie up with a Taiwan-based company, the Bajaj, that converts at their own expense to promote their product.
For her part, Christie Bauzon, also senior science research specialist of DOE, said they don’t encourage conversion because it is costly.
This is based on the experience of DOE when they converted one bus to CNG-run.
This is the reason that the CNG buses in Manila are all OEM.
Bauzon also said that the pilot phase incentives includes income tax holiday; zero rate of duty on Imported natural gas vehicles (NGVs), engines and other related equipment parts and components; issuance by LTO of Certificates of Compliance with Emission Standards to NGVs.
NGVs also enjoy preferential and exclusive franchises from LTFRB for newly opened routes; accelerated issuance of ECC by DENR for NGV facilities and refueling stations; a ffordable and commercially tenable financial packages from GFIs; manpower development and capability building through training and technology transfer programs.
The Alternative Fuel Program also offers attractive compressed natural gas (CNG) price of P14.52 (US$0.34) per Nm3 (or DLE-Diesel Liter Equivalent) or P18.38 per kg fixed for seven years.
Bauzon also said there are 49 sets of Philippine National Standards for Natural Gas for Transport.
“The NGVPPT has developed and implemented an accreditation procedure for the NGVPPT participants. There are 7 accredited bus operators under the NGVPPT with the following actual number of CNG buses brought in the country as against the number of buses committed,” according to Bauzon.
Engr. Loreto Mancada, also a senior science research specialist of DOE.