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Meralco pursues Tesla partnership

Power retailer Manila Electric Co. expects to sign a partnership agreement with Tesla Motors Inc. of the United States this year, a top executive said.

“For Tesla, there were some projects we identified…like battery storage. We will push that early [this year],” Meralco senior vice president and head of customer retail services and corporate communications Alfredo Panlilio  said.

Meralco and Tesla executives met last year to discuss partnership opportunities in the Philippines. “They’re interested to come in and explore,” Panlilio said earlier, referring to Tesla executives.

Meralco launched its e-vehicle charging station at Meralco compound in Pasig City in 2013. The company also  introduced a Tesla electric car priced at around P9 million to showcase e-vehicles in the country.

Panlilio said aside from being an electric car manufacturer, Tesla is also a battery company and discussions would likely focus on that.

“It’s still very open, but [we want to] explore, maybe a potential business partnership.  I would think it’s more of storage, batteries. That’s what they’re pushing hard now,” the Meralco official said.

Panlilio, however, said the success of the country’s e-vehicle program would depend on certain factors.

“It depends on adoption of EV on a mass scale. It’s hard for us to drive it alone, but when adoption is there, we should be ready with charging stations. It’s an ecosystem we want to develop,” he said.

“We’ve been espousing about it―the charging stations.  It depends on government policies, how we can massively have more e-jeepneys. There’s a lot to do. It’s not a matter of if it will happen [but when],” Panlilio said.

Meralco chairman Manuel Pangilinan earlier said Meralco was expanding beyond its traditional task of providing power.

“The Philippines has got to develop its own niche. We in Meralco will help propagate local manufacturing [of electric vehicles]. We’re prepared to invest and set up financing. We don’t want to import these vehicles,” Pangilinan said.

Topics: Manila Electric Co. , Tesla Motors Inc. , Meralco
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