The country’s electric vehicle (EV) bill silently passed - or better yet - lapsed into law without the President’s signature on April 15, 2022. It is a consolidated version of the Senate and House versions and is officially called Republic Act No. 11697 or the ‘Electric Vehicle Industry Development Act.’
Yes, we now have an ‘electric vehicle’ law after a decades-long wait and going through several bill versions. As the name of the new law implies, it doesn’t just deal with importation, taxes and levies, acquisition, incentives, and usage of EVs. It is also designed to promote the manufacturing and/or assembly of EVs in the country, just like the CARS (Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy) program, and the installation and maintenance of charging stations all around the country.
A Comprehensive Roadmap for the Electric Vehicle Industry or CREVI lays out the “national development plan for the EV industry.” That includes setting the standards and specs for EVs and charging stations, plus the development of local EV manufacturing. The CREVI will be part of the Philippine Energy Plan and the National Transport Policy.
Several agencies will convene within the next two months to draw up the components and stipulations of the CREVI. These agencies are the Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Transportation (DOTr), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
So far, all of the above are generalizations, and I’m sure you’re eager to know how this new law helps put more EVs on the road and in your garages.
The new law will push for move EVs by demanding a mandatory 5% EV share in corporate and government fleets within the time frame indicated in the CREVI. That will include cargo logistics companies, food delivery companies, tour agencies, hotels, power and water utilities, and public transport operators (minibusses, buses, jeepneys, vans, tricycles, taxis, and transport network vehicles).
New buildings will be required to dedicate 5% of the total number of their parking slots to EVs. Violators will not be issued a construction or renovation permit by their local government unit (LGU). Building owners also get the first priority to install and operate a charging station should the establishment pass standards for such service.
Designated fuel stations will also have dedicated space for the installation and operation of charging stations. It may be operated by the fuel station owner or a service provider.
It is important to note that under the law, “own-use charging stations shall not be allowed to impose and collect charging fees” while “commercial use charging stations may be allowed to.”
With regards to fiscal incentives for the importation of EVs, it is still vague at best. The new law defers to the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act and the measly excise tax exemption it gets. What’s worse, this exemption may even be suspended by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) “to protect local (EV) manufacturers.”
What will be import-tax-free? Only completely built units of charging stations and only for the first eight years of the Act's effectivity.
But don’t lose hope. Here are a few more incentives, especially for motorists who already drive EVs:
- A 30% discount for battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) and 15% discount for hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs) from the payment of the Land Transportation Office’s (LTO) motor vehicle use’s charge, vehicle registration, and inspection
- EV users get priority registration and renewal, and will also be provided a special type of vehicle plate by the LTO
- Exemption from ‘coding’ or the Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program (UVVRP) by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and any LGU (yes, that includes Makati City)
- Faster processing by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) for public utility vehicle operators
- Financial institutions (banks) are encouraged to provide attractive financial packages, preferential interest rates, and affordable payment schemes on consumer loans for the acquisition of EVs
There are also incentives for EV manufacturers and importers. Their employees get Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) training programs on EV assembly, use, maintenance, and repair. The Bureau of Customs (BOC) shall also expeditiously process the importation of parts and components for the manufacture and assembly of EVs.
Republic Act No. 11697 doesn’t really have the kind of electrifying effect we expected to charge up the EV industry, but it is certainly better than nothing. The import levy remains, which means the prices will stay the same unless these auto brands actually decide to make or assemble the EVs locally.
If you could talk to your congressmen, what would you ask them to change about our new ‘EV law?’