Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Masbad: Electric vehicles in the Philippines? I hope so.

Wacky Tech

I’M quite interested in this class of vehicles. Electric Vehicle (EV) tech has changed dramatically over the years. The most crucial piece of tech for an EV is its power core. The batteries. Bad battery technology in an EV and you might just throw that EV away and not even think about selling it.

The basic premise for an EV, to me, is for it to become a replacement for your typical internal-combustion-engine-powered vehicle. And because it’s meant to replace our beloved cars of today, it has to be able to carry us from point A to point B then C then D without the frequent need for recharging. That’s the ideal scenario. In our country today, it won’t make much sense having an EV and you won’t be able to go far in between full charges of the battery.

Ask yourself this: if you have a mobile phone whose battery only lasts for an hour then you’ll need to charge again, would you bring it with you to work? Most likely, no. You can always bring a battery pack with you so you can recharge on the go, yes. Now, think about an EV. Can you be able to bring with you a battery pack wherever you go so you can recharge your EV’s battery? I don’t think so.

And that’s where the biggest battles are being fought among car manufacturers. And I’m just talking about battery technology. There’s also the subject of price. Can the Filipino nation afford to have EVs in the next 5 to 10 years or sooner? Sooner would be great so we can still make an impact in turning back the hands of the doomsday clock on our global climate.

If you scour the internet these days about EVs, one brand will almost always jump out to you in terms of popularity -- Tesla. Rightfully so. Their marketing and PR blitz is top notch and it helps that your company leader is pretty active in social media. That helps a lot. But other car manufacturers are also raising their flags. Nissan, Toyota, BMW, Hyundai, Kia, to name several. Each of them has an EV that they hope for people to buy into.

Buying one though isn’t that cheap for us here in the Philippines. And I think it’s not that cheap as well in other countries. A lot of the countries who are encouraging sale of EVs are encouraging buyers to do so with promised tax cuts because they’ll be getting environmentally-friendly vehicles. The Philippines, I think, offers that as well to importers to encourage the public. But even with all the promise of tax cuts and such, will these EVs be affordable enough that Pinoys will be able to afford it? I can’t answer that for sure. I think there’s just way too many factors involved to be able to properly answer that question.

Another question that pops into mind is our nation’s readiness tech wise. I mean, if and when EVs become common enough on our roads, will there be enough charging stations? If the government can’t provide such, will the giant oil companies install charging stations in the same pit stops where gas-engine vehicles fuel up? In the spirit of capitalism and profit driven business models, I’d like to think that they will install such charging stations. Why? Because they can charge you for it. X amount of pesos for X amount of time you’ll charge your EV. It may not even be the amount of time charged but the amount of electricity that you got.

In line with the proliferation of EVs in the country, would we be seeing charging stations/complexes along our tollways complete with restaurants, outlet stores and whatever else can be put there.

I can only imagine. For now.


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