Thursday, November 25, 2010

E-vehicles, the next big thing?
November 25, 2010, Updated as of 11/26/2010 3:27 AM

MANILA, Philippines – Electric vehicles (E-vehicles) could be the next big thing in the country’s automotive industry, advocates and businessmen believe.

Leading figures from the private sector, the government, non-government organizations (NGOs), and the academe have vowed to fast-track and scale up the development of e-vehicles in the country.

They made the vow at the conclusion on Wednesday of the first national summit on e-vehicles.

“The market for electric vehicles in the Philippines is big enough for all. In Mindanao, the potential is particularly promising,” said Ariel Torres, chief executive officer of Alternative Modern Transport.

His company co-sponsored the 2-day summit, which secured support from more than 250 participants from national agencies, city governments, banks, businesses, civil society groups, and international industry associations.

The summit took place at Meralco, which helped put together the meeting.

“The summit ended on a full charge, with robust plans, new alliances and investor interest,” said Red Constantino, executive director of the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (iCSC).

“This gathering was about solutions and all representatives from the public and private sector contributed positively, from titans of local industry to jeepney driver associations,” he added.

Constantino’s group has already rolled out e-jeepneys in Makati City and Puerto Princesa City.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) co-organized the summit.

“Harnessing the potential of the market is critical to the country’s response to the climate crisis. Sustainable transport is a key component that can greatly help manage climate change risks and at the same time contribute to the development goals of the Philippines,” said WWF climate change head Gia Ibay.

Top officials who graced the event include Vice-President Jejomar Binay, Meralco president Manuel Pangilinan, and Transportation and Communications Undersecretary Aristotle Batuhan.

Batuhan opened the event’s second day, which tackled regulatory and financing issues, along with challenges posed by battery development and charging stations. #

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