With climate change and global warming reaching headlines, it seems that everybody is making the smart shift to go green.
Joining the cause is Meralco, the country’s foremost electricity distribution utility, which has recently presented a charging station prototype called the Meralco eVehicle Power Station as a forerunner in the development of electric vehicles (EVs).
THE PROBLEMS EVs FACE
Introduced in the year 2007, the usage of EVs in the Philippines has since grown. We now see e-jeepneys and e-tricycles zooming across the streets of the metro. Unfortunately, due to its expensive cost, production, and lack of charging stations, electric vehicles face difficulties of getting into the mainstream transportation market. Essential in the development of the EV industry is the installation of charging stations around the country.
MEET THE PROTOTYPE
The Meralco eVehicle Power Station serves as a signal to EV stakeholders that Meralco is preparing to support the industry’s requirements. Alfredo S. Panlilio, senior vice president and head of customer retail services and corporate communications at Meralco, says, “We want to be instrumental in building the complete ecosystem for the expected in ux of electric vehicles in the country. Meralco will assist in making the electric vehicle charging technology available to interested partner companies and priority sectors like public transport operators. Meralco will be ready when the market for eVehicles becomes ripe and stakeholders start adopting the technology. Meralco will be there to meet the demands and requirements for this environment friendly initiative.”
USER-FRIENDLY AND FOR MASS TRANSIT
The charging equipment, as future-forward sounding it may be, won’t be requiring any physical assistance from the Martians.
Specific targets are electric mass transportation vehicles, such as e-jeepneys and e-tricycles, which would recharge on a retail basis. Meralco’s equipment can provide partial (sachet) charging at an economic price point.
The charging equipment recognizes when the battery’s status is fully charged and cuts off charging. An LCD display also shows the rate and total kWH consumed along with the equivalent peso amount.
Vouching for the feasibility of the charging equipment are the e-shuttles used by employees around the Meralco compound.
MADE FOR MOTHER EARTH
With the majority of air pollution in the country coming from the transport sector, the government is encouraging the use of EVs to aid in reducing gasoline consumption and carbon dioxide emissions.
Cited in an article published on www.abs-cbnnews.com by Ronron Calunsod, the Philippine Energy department says that gasoline consumption will be reduced by 561,000 barrels per year, avoiding 260,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually if 100,000 diesel tricycle units are replaced with e-tricycles. In the same article, Calunsod says that around 3.5 million motorcycles and tricycles in the country, according to government, emit close to 10 million tons of harmful gases and use more than USD 2-billion worth of imported oil each year.
EV charging facilities encourage the production of more e-vehicles, which have significantly less harmful impact on the environment because they are powered by either renewable or conventional energy.
To enhance the Meralco eVehicle Power Station even in the testing stage, Meralco connected an EV charger to a renewable source of energy, harnessing the power of both solar and wind energy. This allows for a zero carbon emission vehicle, a testament to a pursuit for clean and alternative sources of power.
Looking ahead, Meralco has partnered with the University of the Philippines Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute (UP-EEEI) to explore fast charging technology.
“Meralco aims to celebrate 2021, the quincentennial or 500th year of the discovery of the Philippine Islands by the western world, as the year when all the technologies we are exploring today, and many more, will be fully operational and improving the lives and livelihoods of millions of our customers,” says Oscar Reyes, president and CEO of Meralco.
He concludes, “We will be ready if the market is there, and customers demand this service. I would therefore say, welcome to the future.”
Words by Mia Carisse Barrientos
First published in Gadgets Magazine, September 2013