The development and promotion of the Philippine electric vehicles industry’s competitiveness is further a boost with the inaugural and launch of the Php550 million Mobility as a System (MaaS) project today (October 20, 2016) in Intramuros, Manila.

The MaaS project is an electric vehicles initiative of Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) in coordination with Japanese IT service provider SoftBank Corporation and the Board of Investments (BOI).  The project’s implementation will be monitored by a steering committee with BOI, the Intramuros Administration (IA), and MC Metro Transport Operation Incorporated (MMTOI) as members together with NEDO and Softbank.

The project operates 50 units of electric trikes from BEMAC Electric Transportation Philippines, Inc., along with 17 charging stations installed around the Club Intramuros area. The project showcases the technology of Softbank Corp., connecting the vehicles in an IT platform for ease of operation of the transportation system.  The project will run for two years, from October 2016 to September 2018.  Aside from being a historic landmark and tourist spot, Intramuros was selected as pilot area for the project considering the mix of people in the area which includes tourists and students.

“With projects such as the MaaS, we hope to make PH an EV manufacturing hub in Southeast Asia.  We hope that more local and foreign investments will come and make the country their production base, thus create around 100,000 in new jobs for Filipinos,” said BOI Executive Director for Industry Development Services Ma. Corazon Halili-Dichosa at the launch adding that the Philippines looks forward to more collaboration with the Japanese government in developing and implementing projects that is seen to further strengthen the competitiveness of local industries.

Joining Executive Director Dichosa in the inaugural rites were Sumio Tanaka, NEDO Executive Director Munehiko Tsuchiya, Japanese Trade and Commercial Attache to the Philippines Junichiro Suzuki, Softbank Senior Vice President for CISO IT Unit Amane Kito, MMTOI President Michael Concepcion, and IA officers led by Happy Valerio, Edgardo Baysic, and Merceditas Sahagun.

The attendees of the inauguration did a quick tour around Intramuros, Manila within the designated stops.

The project, which is geared to improving the environment through the use of a new and cleaner transportation system, is a fruit of the long running partnership of the Philippines and Japan in developing the local industry and the country.

NEDO, as a development organization, has partnered with a number of countries, such as the Philippines, Thailand, Lao PDR, and India, in conducting demonstration projects like the MaaS Project to promote the better environment through the local production and use of green technology with support of Japanese technology.

In Malaysia, the demonstration project involves a bus system using full-sized double-decker EV buses in the Malaysian city of Putrajaya. The NEDO-assisted projects have proven to be beneficial to the countries, not only because these promote a cleaner environment through the use of earth-friendly technologies, but every project brings in new technology and partners with the local industry to create the equipment used for the project.

The government, together with the local EV industry, has long been promoting the use of electric vehicles across the country, and through this project, the public will hopefully be further exposed to the use of EVs as an effective means of public transportation.

Currently, there are over 30 firms engaged in the local electric vehicles industry. The industry currently provides employment to over 10,000 individuals. As the government continues to support the use of electric vehicles, the industry is expected to grow in the coming years.

BOI, through its Industry Development Program, is supporting the industry in the implementation of its electric vehicles roadmap. The e-vehicles working group (EVWG) is a sub-cluster of the automotive working group. The EVWG has created its own sub-clusters to handle specific industry issues such as production and infrastructure, policies and regulations, promotions, and financing and resources.

Under the current Investments Priorities Plan (IPP), the manufacture of electric vehicles and its components as well as establishment and operation of electric vehicles charging stations are preferred activities for investments that may be entitled to incentives.

In Metro Manila, major cities have started to use e-vehicles to transport local residents and transient workers. Electric jeeps and electric tricycles are also getting more common in the country’s major business districts and urban areas. The establishment of “green cities” is also expected to generate higher demand for e-vehicles for public transportation Electric jeepneys are now roving in various areas such as Makati, Filinvest City in Alabang, Bonifacio Global City, Las Piñas, Iloilo, Bacolod, Muntinlupa and in university campuses like La Salle and Ateneo.