Manila, Philippines — The Philippines is making significant strides in its efforts to transition to electric vehicles (e-vehicles) by 2040, with the Department of Energy (DOE) launching the country’s first electronic buses (e-buses). The introduction of e-buses is part of the Comprehensive Road Map for the Electric Vehicle Industry, which mandates the conversion of all government vehicles into e-vehicles by 2030. By 2040, the goal is for all government vehicles to run on electricity. Despite the high price tag of P29 million, including the charging station, which is more than double the cost of a regular bus, the DOE has assured local governments that they can purchase the charging stations using their local budgets.

DOE Secretary Raphael Lotilla emphasized that the shift towards e-vehicles is not exclusive to government-owned transport but includes both public and private transportation. In line with this plan, 10% of bus companies’ fleets are expected to become electric by 2040. While the proposal was generally welcomed by Mega Manila Consortium (MMC), a group of bus companies, it expressed concern over the cost, as e-buses are almost twice as expensive as their current bus units. The MMC suggested that subsidies should be made available to companies to help offset the additional costs.

There have been no talks yet about subsidies for e-bus operators, but the government has implemented other incentives to support the e-vehicle industry. These include lifting tariffs for e-vehicles, green routes or franchises, and exemption from color or number coding schemes. These initiatives will undoubtedly help the industry grow and encourage more Filipinos to switch to e-vehicles.

The next stage in the process will be to ensure that there are enough charging stations across the country for e-vehicle users. This is crucial since it would be challenging to convince Filipinos to switch to e-vehicles if there are no charging stations available. The DOE has acknowledged this and is working to ensure that there are enough charging stations all over the country to support the growing number of e-vehicles.

The shift to e-vehicles is not only essential for environmental reasons, but it can also help the Philippines become more energy independent. The country currently relies on imported oil to power its transportation sector, making it vulnerable to price fluctuations and supply chain disruptions. By transitioning to e-vehicles, the Philippines can reduce its dependence on imported oil and become more self-reliant in meeting its energy needs.

Overall, the DOE’s announcement of the first e-buses in the Philippines is a significant step towards achieving the country’s goal of becoming a major player in the global e-vehicle industry. It highlights the government’s commitment to promoting sustainable transport and reducing the country’s carbon footprint. With the right policies and incentives in place, the Philippines could become a leader in e-vehicle adoption and technology innovation in the region.