Meralco forms unit to operate electric vehicles

Power retailer Manila Electric Co. said it registered eSakay Inc. as a new subsidiary to engage in electric vehicles and other alternative energy sources.

Meralco said Tuesday it received the certificate of registration from the Securities and Exchange Commission of eSakay as a wholly-owned subsidiary formed to engage in the business of owning, maintaining and operating transport service networks of charging stations, batteries and vehicles utilizing electric energy and other alternative energy sources.

The move followed the announcement of Meralco in January that it revived plans to invest in the country’s electric vehicle industry through the deployment and manufacturing of e-vehicles for transport.

“We are even thinking of really creating what we call as m-transport for electric vehicle... Should we get into manufacturing, not only we can JV [enter into joint venture] with somebody who is into this space,”  Meralco senior vice president and head of customer retail services and corporate communication head Al Panlilio said.

He said Meralco, the country’s biggest power distributor, was looking at EVs for a long time and even launched  a prototype e-charging station as early as 2011.

He said the company was being opportunistic on certain projects because “this is income lucrative to Meralco’s future.”

“If adoption of EV becomes big, then it will be beneficial to Meralco…Of course, charging station is a basic entry for Meralco but we are looking at if we can participate more in the entire ecosystem or value chain of EV,” Panlilio said.

He said Meralco would discuss projects with local government units such as Mandaluyong, with the focus on e-trikes or public utility EVs.

“What we are doing is we are not going massively first. I think we are identifying two to three proof of concepts. One of them is [with] Mandaluyong LGU. I think we are talking about 3,000 to 4,000 e-trikes,” Panlilio said.

He said Meralco would first focus on e-trikes.  “It’s difficult if you go into e-bus and e-jeeps because it’s a total redesign of the vehicles,” he said.

Panlilio said Meralco was also studying the viability of EVs including sourcing and possible partnerships for operating the charging stations.

“We are exploring whether that is something viable for us because there are also a lot of investments required to get into that. It’s too early to tell now whether its something that we will get into,” he said.

Topics: Manila Electric Co
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