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Basic issues in EV industry need to be addressed

Catherine Talavera – The Philippine Star
July 18, 2022 | 12:00am


Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual said fundamental issues in the electric vehicle (EV) sector in the country must be addressed first before this vehicle type can be added under the government’s incentives program for motor vehicle manufacturing.

In an interview with reporters, Pascual affirmed his support for the continuation of the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) program.

“I’m pushing for it,” he said.

When asked about the proposal to give the remaining slot under the CARS program to EVs, Pascual said that fundamental issues related to the EVs need to be addressed first.

“It will take time to set up charging stations. Electricity is still expensive here,” Pascual said.

Former Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez earlier proposed to use the remaining slot under the CARS program for the development of EV manufacturing.

Under Executive Order 182 issued in 2015, participants of the CARS program have to produce 200,000 units of their enrolled vehicle model within a period of six years to avail of incentives from the government.

Every CARS participant may get fiscal support amounting to P9 billion for its enrolled model.

Automotive firms that are part of the CARS program are Toyota Motor Philippines Corp. and Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp.

Despite issues hindering the growth of EV use in the county, Pascual is optimistic that the country can be a supplier of EV parts and components instead. “I want Philippine manufacturers, particularly – maybe medium-sized companies, to be suppliers of parts and components, to be part of the global value chain,” Pascual said in a separate interview.

“We will come to a stage where we will assemble the vehicles here. But we’re not yet there because there’s so many preconditions to bringing in EVs here. You need a critical number so you can have charging stations along the way. Otherwise, there will be no buyers if users cannot bring their EVs out of Metro Manila,” he said.

The Trade Secretary earlier highlighted the potential of the Philippines to be a supplier of critical metals needed for Italy’s EV and battery production sector.

“The Philippines holds considerable potential in green metals production. Our country can be Italy’s strategic partner in supplying critical minerals needed for Italian electric vehicles and battery production sectors,” Pascual said at the earlier High-level dialogue on ASEAN-Italy Economic Relations.

“We have nickel, cobalt, and copper in abundance. The Philippines is also a dominant supplier of nickel ore, not only in Asia but in the world. It accounts for 31 percent of global exports. But, of course, we now want to have greater value addition locally for our mineral resources,” he said.

Pascual said earlier the DTI would promote the processing of green metals such as copper, nickel, and cobalt before exporting them.

“Mineral processing is crucial given our resources that can be used for downstream industries such as EV battery manufacturing, wiring harness production, hyperscaler data centers, and renewable energy projects,” he said.