Auto output down 60%; EVs pushed

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    With the capacity of conventional vehicle production down as much 60 percent, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) hopes the electric vehicle (EV) sector will be part of the expected recovery of the automotive industry in two years.

    In a press conference of the Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (EVAP), DTI Undersecretary Fita Aldaba said based on an informal survey, the level of production of four-wheel vehicles has dropped to 40 to 60 percent while that of motorcycles dropped 58 percent. Sales of motor vehicles declined by 50 percent while those of motorcycles declined by 48 percent.

    “The focus is really now how to recover and stay afloat, with many of the companies, particularly the small and the medium ones are in survival mode. The future of the industry would depend a lot, not only on the policies, the regulations that will be put into by the government but as well as the consumer behavior,” Aldaba said.

    Aldaba said with the virus still a threat, vehicle demand would be driven by the tendency of people to use their own private vehicles other than taking public transport; the increase in electronic commerce activities and the use shared car-hailing services.

    As it is, Aldaba said other countries are using their stimulus measures their recovery plan plans in by putting more money in towards the direction of developing the EV industry by removing the taxes.

    “ EV is a priority and for us. Our economic recovery plans have been taking into account jobs and growth in both low carbon and sustainable sectors. In terms of future competitiveness, we know this is really going to come from new technologies and business models such as those in the EV industry,” Aldaba said.

    Aldaba sees recovery from the pandemic to happen in two years.

    Aldaba said the DTI is readying an incentive program to attract the production of 3.2 million vehicles consisting of public utility vehicles (PUVs), jeepneys, buses, trucks and two- and three- wheeled vehicles where investors will be given perks on fixed investments and variable or number of units.

    It also grants incentives to buyers through tax and duty reduction to lower the cost of acquisition.

    EVAP president Edmund Araga said PUV cooperatives are looking forward to use the most modernized PUV jeepneys even as fleet operations have also been drastically affected.

    Araga said EVAP continues to pursue the Green City program under the UNDP project that would use EVs as an alternative form of transportation as well as logistics.

    “EV prospects continue to be bright despite the pandemic,” said Araga, adding the EV industry players in the Philippines are looking forward to the immediate passage of the Electric Vehicles and Charging Stations Act to further promote and adopt EVs in the country. The measure seeks to require private and public buildings and establishments to have dedicated parking slots with charging stations, installed by charging station service providers, and for gasoline stations to have a dedicated space for charging stations as well.

    It also mandates large industrial and commercial companies, public transport operators, and government agencies and instrumentalities to adopt a minimum 5 percent share EVs within their respective fleets.