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Tesla in talks for an expansion in the Philippines, says country’s biggest electric utility

Tesla store Shenzhen

Tesla is currently expanding significantly its presence in Asia ahead of the start of Model 3 production. The company has a growing presence in China and Japan since 2014, but in 2016, the automaker also expanded in Taiwan and South Korea.

The company has been eyeing a few other markets for expansions in the region, like Singapore and Malaysia, but now it looks like the Philippines is also a contender to become a new market for both its electric vehicles and its ‘Tesla Energy’ division.

In interviews last week,  Alfredo S. Panlilio, Senior Vice President of Meralco, the country’s biggest electric utility and the sole power provider in metro Manilla, told reporters that his company has been holding talks with Tesla and that company executives are planning a visit by the end of the year.

Manila Bulletin reported Panlilio’s comments:

“We just had teleconference last week, we just agreed that they (Tesla executives) come over and have a visit,”

Panlilio says that they want to explore a “potential partnership” to distribute Tesla’s energy storage products, something Meralco is now “pushing hard”, says the executive. The electric utility offers net metering solutions for households with solar installations and it wants to offer energy storage options, such as Tesla’s Powerwall, to its customers.

Additionally, Panlilio says that they need to discuss the charging infrastructure needed for the deployment of  electric vehicles in the Philippines:

“We just have to be ahead of adoption, for example, if EV rollout finally comes on mass scale, Meralco should be ready – even with the charging stations.  We’ve been espousing about it for two years already, but it depends on the government also on what are the policies for EVs and how can you massively have more e-jeepneys (electric jeepneys)…there are still a lot of things that must be done,”

The car market in the Philippines is still a small one, but its one of the fastest growing in South East Asia. Only 168,000 cars were sold in 2010, but the market grew to 324,000 units in 2015. Car sales are expected to easily reach 500,000 units by 2020.

As several automakers are eyeing the opportunity for growth in the Philippines, Meralco and the Filipino government are looking at creating incentives to attach electric vehicles to the growth in the car market.

Featured Image: A look at Tesla’s impressive Shenzhen store in China [Gallery]

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