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The need for more charging infra to support EV transition

The past few years have seen exponential growth in the sale of electric vehicles (EV), according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), as it estimated that about 18 percent of new cars sold globally in 2023 were electric.

Moreover, between 2020 and 2022, the share of electric cars in total sales has more than tripled — from four percent in 2020, up to nine percent in 2021, and even higher at 14 percent in 2022, which is more than 10 times their share in 2017. If this trend continues, we can avoid the need for five million barrels of oil a day by 2030.

China, Europe and the US remain the leading EV markets, with China accounting for almost 60 percent of all new electric car registrations globally in 2022.

Despite this trajectory, the IEA states that EVs are not yet a global phenomenon, as sales in developing emerging economies are not as promising. The high purchase price of EVs and the lack of charging infrastructure are some of the obstacles.

While the number of public charging points is increasing — 900,000 of these were installed in 2022, an increase of about 55 percent on 2021 stock — the IEA stresses the need to accelerate its deployment, especially because in the Net Zero Scenario, 17 million public charging points should already be available by 2030. At the end of 2022, there were only 2.7 million public charging points globally.

The availability of public charging infrastructure is necessary to encourage more vehicle owners to transition to EVs sooner, otherwise, it cannot compete with the convenience and accessibility of fuel stations for gas-powered vehicles.

The EV industry in the Philippines is still in its nascent stage. But this is seen to quickly gain ground with the help of Republic Act No. 11697, or the Electric Vehicle Industry Development Act (EVIDA), which provides for a national policy framework to develop the electric vehicle industry in the country.

The Department of Energy (DOE) is optimistic that the law will help increase the roll out of EVs in the country. Moreover, the issuance of Executive Order No. 12 series of 2023, which halted or reduced the import duty of electric vehicles for the next five years, is seen to help mainstream EV usage in the country.

In 2022, the DOE reported the registration of only 9,000 EVs, with only 327 charging stations in operation. Most of these EVs are electric tricycles and motorcycles. Electric cars make up only one percent of the market.

But the DOE hopes that from 2023 to 2028, it can establish an EV fleet comprising 2.45 million cars, tricycles, motorcycles, and buses; as well as the installation of 65,000 EV charging stations throughout the country. From 2029 to 2034, it aims to add 1.85 million more EVs on Philippine roads, with 42,000 more charging stations.

The development of a robust EV charging infrastructure is an important component of this transition to electric vehicles. Stronger collaboration among the government, private sector, and stakeholders is essential here.

The Department of Science and Technology (DoST) has developed an EV charging system called CharM or Charging in Minutes, which can fully charge EVs in 30 minutes. These are already being used in some malls that have built charging stations for EVs.

Several commercial establishments, vehicle distributors, and even fuel stations, have also built EV charging systems as a way to help advance the adoption of e-vehicles. We hope more will follow suit.

As we look forward to the development of affordable and convenient electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the country, we also hope to see efforts towards building EV charging stations that are powered by renewable energy so that these e-vehicles can truly become 100 percent zero emission.

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