Countries Gear Up for Electric Vehicle Revolution

Electric car made from batteries
Electric car made from batteries

While Europe and the United States have been proactive in their governmental thrusts for the electric vehicle revolution, other smaller countries have also jumped in the bandwagon so to speak. One such country is the Philippines, with new legislation to support the importation and use of electric vehicles.

House Bill No. 5460 was filed in the House of Representatives seeking to provide incentives for the manufacture, assembly, conversion and importation of electric, hybrid and other alternative fuel vehicles. This is designed to push for the use of hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles to lower the dependence on imported fossil fuels.

The current cost of a liter of premium gasoline is currently pegged at Php 59.90, where the current exchange rate is at US$1 to Php 42.50. The price of gasoline and other fuel products, such as diesel and liquefied petroleum gas has been on a continuous upward spiral, with price increases occurring weekly at the least.

There have been protests from transport and other cause oriented groups, calling for the removal of the current Oil Deregulation Law and lowering the value added tax for fuel products.

On the other hand, there are many groups, both within and outside of the Philippine government that has embraced the electric vehicle revolution. The city government of Makati has a number of electric vehicles called “eJeepneys”. These are ubiquitous public transport vehicles in the country that are powered by batteries instead of the environmentally damaging internal combustion engine. Still others have developed, built and even use electricity as fuel for vehicles, the most infamous being the water-fueled car of Dr. Dingle.

The bill aims to protect the environment through mitigation of the harmful effects of carbon monoxide emissions into the air. It further defines electric vehicles as a vehicle that uses electric motors for propulsion, while a hybrid vehicle is any vehicle that uses a combination of electricity and internal combustion to propel the vehicle.

One of the benefits provided under the proposed legislation is the exemption from the payment of excise taxes and duties for nine years from the effectivity of the law. Furthermore, the measure, manufacture, assembly, conversion, and importation of electric and hybrid cars using completely knocked down (CKD) parts of electric, hybrid and other alternative fuel vehicles would also be covered under these benefits. It further expands coverage to vehicle conversions from internal combustion into electric, hybrid or other alternative fuel vehicles.

Another benefit of the law would be the payment of value-added taxes for nine (9) years from the effectivity of the law for importation of raw materials, spare parts, components and other capital equipment that would be used for the manufacture, assembly and/or conversion of electric, hybrid and other alternative fuel vehicles.

CARB Expands Rules

eastshore_freeway
eastshore_freeway

Last Friday, the California Air Resources Board unanimously voted in the expansion of the rules stipulated in the Advanced Clean Car guidelines. The Board projects that the program would increase the number of zero and near zero emission vehicles in the state by 1.4 million when 2025 comes around.

The specifics of the plan include half a million vehicles would run on either battery-electric or fuel cell models. These vehicles would not produce tailpipe emissions while the other 900,000 would be plug-in hybrids. These plug-in hybrids qualify as transitional zero-emission vehicles.

The Board’s recommendation was widely lauded by environmentalists and carmakers even before the votation was concluded. One provision of the resolution is still being closely observed by many cause oriented and environmental groups. This particular provision allows a carmaker that passed current federal Corporate Average Fuel Economy regulations in a specific year to add up credits as earnings. These credits earned would be applied in years after they were earned, allowing the carmaker to delay the mandate in building zero-emission vehicles.

Plug In America, the non-profit group advocating an accelerated shift to plug-in vehicles has called the specific provision as a “loophole which will cause the loss of hundreds of thousands of plug-in cars in California.”

In response, CARB Chairperson Mary Nichols said that the decision of the Board on the overcompliance credits as an integral part of the overall plan.

One of the carmakers testifying for the overcompliance rule was Hyundai. In a statement, the carmaker said, “This flexibility allows Hyundai to significantly overcomply with CAFÉ and build a somewhat smaller number of zero-emission vehicles for a short time between 2018 and 2021.”

Hyundai’s Product Development Vice President Mike O’Brien added, “It will lead to more greenhouse gas reductions by Hyundai without the provision.”

The state of California’s program is scheduled to be started at the 2018 model year. This is part and parcel of a wider range of regulations also approved by the Board, such as building of hydrogen filing stations for fuel-cell vehicles, reduction in greenhouse gases and other smog creating pollutants.

The CARB Chair said that the wide support base of the measure from environmental organizations, consumers and carmakers made the decision of the Board “one of the easiest decisions we’ve had to make.”

These other regulations include the reduction of greenhouse gases from new cars in California by thirty four percent from 2016 levels. This would also include the creation of 21,000 jobs in California by 2025. It is projected by 2025 that there would be one in seven new cars sold throughout California would either be battery powered, fuel cell powered or plug-in hybrid powered.