PHOTO CAPTION: BEMAC electric tuk tuks rolling off assembly line

Philippines Sets Million EV Goal

By 2020, the island archipelago of nearly 100 million people wants to have one million electric vehicles on its roads, which unlike the USA, might actually be achievable.

Published: 24-Feb-2016

Back in 2011 during the State of the Union address, President Barack Obama set a goal of having a million electric vehicles on the nation's streets and roads by 2015. As the year came and went, US EV sales only achieved 40% of that target.

Now the government of the Philippines has set a similar numerical goal of putting 1 million "electric vehicles" on its roads, but with a significant difference. Rather than defining EVs solely as automobiles costing tens of thousands of dollars apiece, the Philippine definition includes an EV World-range of electric vehicles, including electric bicycles, scooters, tuk-tuks (e-trikes) and jeepneys,

It may seem that including these types of vehicles, which can cost a fraction of the sticker price on a Chevy Volt, BMW i3, or Tesla Model S, would make it easier for the Philippinio people to meet this goal, but given the economic differences between the two nations, it could be just as difficult.

Take the recent announcement that BEMAC, a Philippine-incorporated subsidiary of Uzushio Electric Company of Japan, plans to begin production and distribution of some 3,000 all-electric tuk-tuks (e-trikes) identical to those pictured above. According to Rappler

"The e-tricycles will be distributed all over the country starting with 500 in Mandaluyong City, 500 in Manila, 500 in Tarlac, and others..."

BEMAC is now contracted to produce, deliver and service those 3,000 all-electric trikes for US$30 million. That puts the price for each e-trike at about 470,000 Philippine pesos, or just under US$10,000, at current exchange rates. That's about four-times the price of a comparable gasoline-powered model, of which there are a staggering 3.4 million in service.

So how can local operators justify that expense? In the difference between the price of a gallon or litre of petrol. The government estimates the average tuk tuk driver spends US$5.40 a day on motor fuel. This would drop to the equivalent of US$1.10 for electricity. This cost difference will enable independent operators to pay for their e-trikes over the course of five year with no additional upfront outlay.

Assuming the success of the first 3,000 units, BEMAC has the capacity to eventually produce 6,000 vehicles annually, and the Philippine government says it has plans to deploy as many as 17,000 more going forward. For its part, Uzushio Electric's president Masato Oda says the company is studying future variant of their e-Trike, including a possible 4-wheeled Jeepney version.

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