Published May 19, 2017, 10:00 PM By Myrna M. Velasco
As a test-bed and “proof of concept” to viability of electric vehicles, the Japanese government will be completing a two-tranche donation of combined 85 plug-in hybrid and pure EV fleets that will be deployed mainly for the use of various government agencies of the Philippines.
The initial 24 Toyota Prius units were distributed on Friday (May 19) to various agencies of the Executive Branch – done through ceremonies led by Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi and Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Kazuhide Ishikawa.
Hybrid Car Test Drive: Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, with Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Kazuhide Ishikawa as his passenger, test drives one of the 24 units of the donated Toyota Prius (2017 Model) received by various national government agencies for the promotion of fuel-efficient and hybrid vehicles in the country. The hybrid car is part of the Japan’s Non-Project Grant Aid (NPGA), which funded the acquisition of the next generation vehicles (i.e., hybrid vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and electric vehicles), which releases lower carbon emission.
The energy department itself cornered three of the hybrid EV fleets – and these will be deployed to its regional offices in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
Cusi said the 61 additional units will be ready around September – and these EVs will be deployed also for the use of other government agencies – one main target-beneficiary will be the Philippine National Police.
The energy chief noted that the Toyota EV fleets formed part of the 500 million yen that the Japanese government’s Non-Project Grant Aid had extended to the Philippines, with the DOE being the implementing agency – the main goal of which would be demonstrating that electric mobility could work even in domains with traffic-snarled metropolis like in the Philippines.
For mass-scale deployment of EVs, Cusi noted that the department would start institutionalizing the setting up of charging stations – which may be done alongside the gas retail networks of the oil companies.
Both policy and regulatory underpinnings, he stressed, are still being crafted – but the EV use of different national government agencies (NGAs) would be the perfect “testing ground” to determine the concerns that the State must address moving forward.
Cusi said this program intends “to promote the local use and patronage of efficient and environment-friendly alternative fuel vehicles, by deploying demo units and consequently developing familiarity with their operation, maintenance and service.”
He added that this Japan government’s “donation of alternative fuel vehicles to different government agencies nationwide would help trigger a paradigm shift in the mindset of the public so that we would be able to witness a dramatic reduction in both our fuel consumption and carbon emissions.”
For the initial tranche, the recipient-government agencies include the Departments of the Interior and Local Government; Finance; Foreign Affairs; Budget and Management; Transportation; Tourism; Trade and Industry; Environment and Natural Resources, Science and Technology; National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), and the Philippine National Police.
At the turnover rites, Cusi emphasized that his department “gives distinct focus to the promotion and mainstreaming of efficient, emerging and advanced energy solutions to manage our energy utilization and consumption levels – from the households all the way to the energy-intensive sectors.”