Electric motorcycles may kick off the EV trend in PH


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Jan 09, 2024

Electric motorcycles may kick off the EV trend in PH

STATISTICALLY, it is electric motorcycles (including trikes and bikes), not

STATISTICALLY, it is electric motorcycles (including trikes and bikes), not electric cars that began the shift to electrification globally.

In China for example, EV motorcycles have gained significant traction replacing the traditional pedal bicycles. They were more convenient because of their small footprint and partly contributed in reducing air pollution especially in Beijing. China is a good example in the promotion of sustainable transportation—which has propelled the growth of electric motorcycles in recent years.

In the Philippines, the original version of Executive Order No. 12, does not include e-motorcycles in the list of vehicles covered. Issued last January, the ruling suspended tariffs on completely built-up units passenger cars, buses, minibuses, vans, trucks but strangely didn't include motorcycles, tricycles, scooters and bicycles.

Recently, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said that in response to the increasing calls to expand the coverage of EO 12 studies are being conducted to include all types of electric vehicles (EV) in the tax break.

"Now is the time to kick start the local e-motorcycle market. The e-trike market is already very strong and we don't need to focus on that. The Philippines is way ahead of the ASEAN in this perspective—the use of EVs in public transport. But e-motorcycles will be a game changer," Dr. Jose Bienvenido Manuel M. Biona, Executive Director of the Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines and a professor of engineering at the De La Salle University said.

"Compared to traditional gasoline-powered motorcycles, electric motorcycles have lower operating costs. Charging an electric motorcycle is generally cheaper than refueling with gasoline, providing long-term savings," he added.

China was focused incentives to promote the adoption of electric motorcycles—primarily because these were industries easy to set up in various provinces. One can say that each province has its own EV motorcycle brand. This developed basically because of technology sharing and a process called white labeling wherein large manufacturers sell components which are put together in vehicles and branded whatever way the assembler want. This is also the reason why there are so many electric motorcycles that look alike but have different brand names.

The electric motorcycle market in China has witnessed rapid growth in recent years. According to Statista some 41 million EV motorcycles were sold, accounting for nearly 70 percent of global electric motorcycle sales at which is pegged at 60.4 million.

Chinese electric motorcycle manufacturers are also investing in research and development to improve battery technology, range, and charging infrastructure. Advancements in battery technology have resulted in longer ranges and shorter charging times, addressing key concerns of electric motorcycle users.

Policy measures which include subsidies, tax exemptions, and favorable license plate regulations. In many cities, electric motorcycles are exempt from license plate lotteries or restrictions that apply to internal combustion engine vehicles. These incentives have spurred the demand for electric motorcycles and created a favorable environment for manufacturers.

The first large-scale electric motorcycle manufacturer in the world is Zero Motorcycles, founded in 2006 in Santa Cruz, California It is considered one of the pioneers in the electric motorcycle industry.

Zero recently shook hands with the Ayala Group's Integrated Micro-Electronics, Inc. (IMI) to produce electric motorcycles here. A change in EO's scope will help all local e-motorcycle makers

Gogoro is a Taiwanese company founded in 2011 by Horace Luke and Matt Taylor. They introduced their first electric scooter, the Gogoro Smartscooter, in 2015. It is the most popular and possibly the largest ride-sharing, battery swapping system in the world.

This approach addressed the challenge of limited range and long charging times commonly associated with electric vehicles. Gogoro's electric scooters have since become widely recognized and embraced in various Asian markets and will soon come to the Philippines.

"With policy support e-motorcycles may be the way to large scale use in the Philippines," Davy Cheong, Director, Singapore Battery Consortium told Malaya Business Insight at the ASEAN Battery and Electric Vehicle Conference recently. "Government support especially in the R&D, supply chain and manufacturing sides are important."

E-motorcycles offer instant torque and smooth acceleration, providing thrilling riding experiences, with deliver consistent power and offer a higher power-to-weight ratio than conventional motorcycles. They operate quietly, reducing noise pollution in urban areas. These features are particularly beneficial for riders seeking a more serene and peaceful experience—an experience that Filipinos should benefit from soon.