TSUNEISHI C Values Philippines (TCVPh) unveiled its two hybrid electric vehicle (e-vehicles) prototypes for public testing in Balamban yesterday.

TCVPh, the economic and environmentally smart automotive service business company under the Tsuneishi Group, is gathering public suggestions for these newly invented e-vehicles developed by the company in their laboratory in China.

The Philippines, specifically Balamban, Cebu, is the country to test these environment friendly vehicles following the company’s successful public demonstration of its own electronic tricycles (e-trikes) in Balamban a year ago.

“There is a need for this current generation to hand over a healthy environment for the next generations to enjoy,” said TCVPh president Eisaku Ohira, in an interview yesterday.

He said introducing rechargeable e-vehicles is part of the company’s mission to help reduce climate-changing carbon dioxide emissions, especially to a country like the Philippines, which has seen an increasing demand for car ownership.

“It is now high time for the Philippines to adopt e-vehicles. This trend is now gaining momentum due to heightened environmental awareness,” said the TCVPh chief.

Tsuneishi brought to Balamban a hybrid sedan with a top speed of 70 kilometers per hour (km/h) and top range of 80 kilometers, and a hybrid pickup with a top speed of 55 km/h and range of 75 km/h. Charging time for these plug-in hybrid e-vehicles is from six to eight hours.

According to Ohiro, it took Tsuneishi a year to build the e-vehicle prototypes. After its public demonstration in Balamban, the company will bring these samples to Paraguay for another public testing.

“We are currently studying the market’s feedback for our e-vehicles from the physical look to comfortability and functionality. We are also surveying how much they are willing to pay to own e-vehicles,” said Ohira. He added that if they see a huge demand, there is possibility they will mass produce these units. There is also a high possibility of setting up a manufacturing plant for e-vehicles.

“But as to which place, I don’t know yet. We will conduct market studies,” he noted.

Balamban Mayor Alex Binghay welcomed Tsuneishi’s new invention and thanked the company for picking Balamban as their testing site.

“We are happy that Tsuneishi, known for shipbuilding, is now getting into e-vehicle production, because this is a big help with the current condition of our environment,” said Binghay. He noted that one of the many human activities that is killing the environment is the heavy use of cars that emit greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide.

“E-vehicles is a big help that would help address our problem on carbon emissions to ensure that future generations will still be able to enjoy the kind of environment we are currently enjoying. We need to do something now,” said Binghay.

The Balamban mayor aspires to become the the first local government unit in the country to have e-vehicles running. He suggested to Tsuneishi officials to make e-vehicles more affordable.

According to the b2014 Nielsen Global Survey of Automotive Demand, the Philippines has the fifth lowest car ownership in the world, with about 47 percent of Filipino households carless.

However, the Philippines is among the top 10 countries with the highest intention (76 percent) to acquire a car within the next two years.

Sales of automotive manufacturers in the country have increased by 27.4 percent to 167,481 units in the first six months of 2016, compared to the industry sales of 131,465 units in the same period in 2015, based on a joint report of the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. and Truck Manufacturers Association.

Meanwhile, the Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (Evap) said in a news report that the move towards the use of environment-friendly vehicles is running at full speed globally, as more electric vehicles are set be introduced this year.

According to Evap, several major automotive companies are launching electric cars to the public for sale and not just for lease as in the past.

These include the Tesla Model S, BMW X5 eDrive, BMW Series 3 Plug In, VW Passat GTE Plug in, Audi A3 E-tron, Audi Q7 Plug In, Chevy Volt 2.0, Volvo XC90 T8, Volvo S60 Plug In, Mercedes Benz GLE, E and C class Plug in, Mitsubishi Outlander Plug In, BYD Tang and Rimac Concept One.

“It is now common knowledge that electric vehicles are more economical to operate since electricity worldwide is cheaper than petroleum products and e-vehicles are virtually almost maintenance free,” Evap said.

Currently, there are 28 firms engaged in the manufacture of various electric vehicles in the country. Complementing these companies are 11 parts and component manufacturers and seven importers. The Philippine electric vehicle industry currently provides employment to 14,840 individuals.