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We can’t stress it enough: the automotive industry is slowly (but surely) gearing towards electrification. Internal combustion engines (ICE) may have come a long way since its introduction in the 1800s; more powerful yet efficient types have been introduced, such as Mazda’s SkyActiv and Ford’s EcoBoost mills. However, it seems like we’re facing its dawn and we’re not fully aware of it.   

In case you haven’t noticed, electric vehicles (EV) and hybrid cars are becoming a thing these days. Not just ‘a thing,’ really, as they are the future of automobiles. Aside from Tesla and BYD that pioneer the green technology in both ends of the vehicle class spectrum, more and more car companies are either joining hands to share the cost of research and development of electrification, or starting to develop their own.

Toyota put up their own EV company, while Honda and Hitachi teamed up for a new motor engine. Mazda was also looking to join the bandwagon by 2019, while Subaru announced their intention to invest heavily to electrify its current lineup. Volvo recently revealed that they will only produce electric and hybrid vehicles come 2019. Heck, even the Cars animated movie franchise introduced a fully electric character in their 3rd installment and we heard there’s more (spoiler alert).

These are only tidbits of the whole picture – you can use the keyword ‘electric’ to search AutoDeal’s news section to see what’s happening in the world of EVs.

The plot thickens, as the development is now on a political level. France is among the countries to make the bold move towards electrification. In a report by UK’s The Independent, France’s new environment minister Nicolas Hulot announced that they plan to ban all gasoline- and diesel-powered cars in their country by 2040. This is all part of the newly-elected President Emmanuel Macron’s blueprint of making France carbon neutral by 2050.

With the Paris Agreement by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in place, the French ploy didn’t come as a surprise. The said agreement is a global consensus among 197 parties to fight the worsening effect of climate change through decreasing carbon emissions. Yes, cars contribute largely to that, with 13% of total global greenhouse gas emissions coming from the transport sector according to greenpeace.org.

France isn’t alone in the plan to ban ICE in their vehicles. Netherlands and Norway have similar intents until 2025, while Germany and India sees 2030 as their target to get rid of gasoline- and diesel-powered cars.

Philippines and EVs

Just this year, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte affirmed our inclusion on the Paris Agreement. Although it doesn’t hold the country of a specific target and time, we still have the obligation to do so as stated in the signed pact. With that, the Philippines promised to reduce carbon emissions by 70% by the year 2030.

While there are still no concrete plans by the government towards electrification of the transport sector, we are starting to go to that direction. In fact, Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (EVAP) and the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines Inc. (CAMPI) recently held the 1st ASEAN Electric and Hybrid Vehicles Summit last month.

The said summit aims to inform the Filipino consumers about electric vehicles and the benefits of owning one. By numbers, we are behind our neighbors when it comes to the population of electrified cars. To put things in perspective, EVAP president Rommel Juan said that the Philippines only has 600 units of the Toyota Prius hybrid car, as compared to the 70,000+ units in Thailand. See the gap?

Even the country’s King of Road faces electrification, as the government appears to be determined to push the jeepney modernization program. EVAP expressed their desire to help the government with its ploy by re-introducing pollution-free Ejeepneys.

Why should I care?

While the numbers above may tell you that it’s a long way to go for electric vehicles in the Philippines, it’s important to note that the future is inevitable. Like I said, we are going in that direction.

But, are the consumers ready? There are many factors to consider when it comes to switching to electric cars (charging stations, electricity cost, vehicle range, parts and accessories, style, market diversity), however, the main problem is their price tag. As of date, only Toyota, Lexus, Honda, and BYD sell hybrid cars locally – with the most affordable one at P2.2-million (Toyota Prius). Many will surely argue that you can already get a 7-seater SUV with that amount.

Good thing EVAP is pushing for the Senate Bill No. 2151 a.k.a. Electric, Hybrid, and other Alternative Fuel Vehicles Promotion Act of 2014, which will entitle buyers of electric/hybrid vehicles to certain benefits. These include priority in registration and issuance of plate number, priority in franchise application, number coding exemption, and free parking spaces in new establishments.

Now, why should you care? You should because you know that helping the environment is the right thing to do and you know that if you have the means, you’ll do so. Yes, it will be several years before we go full electric but if that happens, Mother Earth won’t be any happier.

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