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First e-vehicle charging station in PHL:  Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory L. Domingo (second from left) joins (from left) Meralco president and CEO Oscar S. Reyes, Meralco chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan, and Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Carlos Jericho L. Petilla during the launch of the first prototype electric vehicle (EV) charging station in the Philippines. The DTI is supportive of efforts to accelerate the development of the nascent electric vehicle (EV) industry in the country. This pioneering development in the EV industry is intended to provide a signal to EV stakeholders that Meralco is preparing itself to support the industry’s requirements.

MANILA, Philippines – Business magnate Manuel V. Pangilinan has purchased a P9-million Tesla model S electric vehicle (EV), the first luxury sedan of its kind in the country, ending speculations he would be buying a Rolls Royce.

The Model S is one of many models manufactured by Tesla Motors, a Silicon Valley-based car premium EV maker.

“This is more affordable than a Rolls Royce,” Pangilinan said in jest.

More than the monetary value, Pangilinan said his acquisition of an EV is part of Manila Electric Co’s efforts to promote the use of more environment-friendly EVs in the country.

Meralco, the country’s biggest power distributor which Pangilinan chairs, is willing to help in manufacturing EVs, he said at the launch of Meralco’s first commercial prototype EV charging station Tuesday night.

“We in Meralco will help propagate local manufacturing here. We’re prepared to invest and help set up financing. We don’t want to import these vehicles,” while unveiling the pearl white Tesla Model S.

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Alfredo Panlilio, senior vice-president and head of Meralco’s customer retail services and corporate communications, said Mitsubishi Motors, Chevrolet Philippines and Nissan Motor Philippines have informed Meralco of their plans to bring in their EVs “very, very soon.”

The P1.5-million pilot station is meant to give a signal to EV stakeholders that Meralco is ready to support the industry’s requirements, said Panlilio.

“We want to be instrumental in building the complete ecosystem for the expected influx 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 e-Vehicles becomes ripe and stakeholders start adopting the technology. Meralco will be there to meet the demands and requirements of this environment-friendly initiative,” Panlilio said.

In an interview on the sidelines of the launch, Panlilio said Meralco has been consulting with the University of the Philippines (UP) on the viability of manufacturing EVs in the country.

“We were talking to UP before on whether we’ll really be able to manufacture our own e-vehicles. It’s hard to import e-vehicles all the time. We can take a look at investing but it’s something we have to assess, including the level of investment. At the end of the day we want the product that, I guess in terms of pricing, will be competitive in the market. We want to be the catalyst in the Philippines. This is the first step for us to make it happen,” Panlilio said.

Meralco’s charging equipment can dispense electricity at measured intervals, either in specific peso or kilowatt-hour amounts.

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