Author: Posted: March 24, 2015
Alena Mae S. Flores
Jan. 31, 2015 at 10:00pm
The core group of the new company was composed of old hands in the auto parts manufacturing industry who wanted to make a truly local Filipino vehicle, hence the name Philippine Utility Vehicle Inc.
The seven original incorporators who joined forces to form the consortium were people behind Yazaki-Torres, VSO, Glasteck, Nito Seiki, Autofir, MD Juan Enterprises and Manly Plastics.
PhUV president Ferdinand Raquelsantos said they commissioned a study that revealed that for a truly Pinoy vehicle, Filipinos opted for a utility vehicle that they could use as a business workhorse on weekdays and a family ride on weekends. The answer was the AUV.
“The group started on a design that called for as many value-added local parts as possible. We assembled the AUV body but we hit a major snag – we could not find an appropriate engine and power train supplier for the vehicle,” he said.
“This was when we came across an NGO project of the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities. It called for three major components: a depot cum terminal cum charging station, a biogas engine to supply the power and finally, a fleet of electric jeepneys as end users. Fortunately for us, they needed a local auto company to manufacture and assemble their e-Jeepneys,” said Raquelsantos.
PhUV vice president Rommel Juan said this gave birth to what is now the Makati Green Route which has a fleet of over 20 e-Jeepneys that serve three developmental routes in the Makati CBD.
“We locally assembled the e-Jeepney for them, thus we ended up as the pioneer in the industry. Our e-Jeepneys are the first e-Jeepneys to receive the orange LTO [Land Transportation Office] license plate. It was also the first mass transport operation of e-Jeepneys to receive an LTFRB franchise. Up until today, the e-Jeepneys we supplied Makati are still in operation”.
Juan said it was thus not very difficult to get Board of Investments registration as a pioneer in the industry, thus giving PhUV some incentives. “At the same time, we wanted to bring together all domestic EV players so we can plot a course for the industry. We organized the Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines where Ferdi is chairman and I am president.”
Raquelsantos said EVAP soon organized Philippine electric vehicle summits to bring together major EV players both here and abroad under one roof.
“From these summits, business partnerships were forged to the mutual benefits of both parties. To spur the growth of the local EV industry, we fully supported the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Incentive Bills filed in both Houses of Congress. They propose to give fiscal and non-fiscal incentives to EV industry players and end users to make us more competitive against our Asian neighbors,” he said.
To date, PhUV has supplied e-Jeepney fleets to various private and institutional establishments such for the De La Salle Ikot in its Dasmarinas, Cavite campus, the Ateneo e-Jeepneys in Katipunan and the Filinvest City 360 Eco Loop in Alabang.
He also cited a recent spike in the consciousness of private institutions to go eco-friendly, realizing that not only is it pollution-free but economical as well. “The EV is here for good. Commuters have tried it and it works. They are convinced it is the vehicle of the future”.
Asked what PhUV’s secret of success was that has enabled it to stay afloat for eight years now in a sunrise industry, Juan pointed to consistency and reliability.
“Through the years, we have proven that we always endeavor to give the best product coupled with a reliable after-sales service in terms of parts and technically-competent labor. We are not a flash in the pan, we are here for the long haul. Many EV companies have come and gone but PhUV has persevered and grown with the industry. That is because we have the passion and drive to steer this industry through turbulent seas”.
“You can rely on PhUV to be able to register 100-percent all EVs that it assembles and sells. We are the pioneer so we have the experience. We welcome upstarts as long as they are credible and share our advocacies. The EV market is big enough for everyone. We encourage them to be part of EVAP so that we can have just one voice in the industry and take the EV industry to the next level,” Juan said.
“From PhUV’s end, we are so optimistic of the growth of the EV market. We are targeting sales of 500 units EVs this year, primarily for the public transport sector,” Juan said.
PhUV will display its latest products at the forthcoming Philippine Electric Vehicle Summit 2015 at the Meralco Multipurpose Hall in Pasig City on Feb. 26 to 27, 2015.
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