Meralco Unveils First Commercial Prototype of E-Vehicle Charging Station in PH
Meralco, the country’s leading electricity distribution utility, unveils a pioneering development in the electric vehicle (EV) front with the launch of a charging station prototype, dubbed the Meralco eVehicle Power Station.
The first of its kind in the Philippines, this technical pilot is meant to give a signal to EV stakeholders that Meralco is readying itself to support the industry’s requirements. It provides a test bed for Meralco’s business case premises and technical competencies in providing different charging technologies.
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 eVehicles becomes ripe and stakeholders start adopting the technology. Meralco will be there to meet the demands and requirements for this environment friendly initiative,‖ says Alfredo S. Panlilio, SVP and Head of Customer Retail Services and Corporate Communications of Meralco.
User-friendly design and mass transit
The EV charging station also features the Meralco-designed charging equipment. Initially providing regular charging technology, it caters to the practical needs of its future customers – specifically those serving mass public transport like the electric tricycle (eTrike) and electric jeepney (eJeep) who buy fuel on a retail basis and usually gas up on PhP 50.00 increments. Meralco's equipment has the capability to provide partial or ―sachet‖ charging at an economic price point.
When the vehicle’s battery is fully charged, the Meralco charging equipment recognizes the status and cuts off charging, while an LCD display shows the rate per kWh, the total kWh consumed, and the equivalent peso amount.
Its fully mobile and weather-proof features, on the other hand, make the equipment ideal for critical and high traffic areas such as malls, parking lots, convenience stores, and PUV terminals. Proof of its feasibility is the fact that e-shuttles around the Meralco compound used by employees are already powered using the prototype.
Even while on the testing stage, Meralco is already looking for new technologies and strategic partnerships to enhance the capabilities and capacity of the EV charging station. For instance, it has connected one of the EV charging equipment to a renewable source of energy that harnesses the power of both solar and wind energy.
For fast charging, Meralco is looking at the CHAdeMO interface and communication protocol, which is being proposed as a global industry standard for fast charging EVs.
CHAdeMO is an abbreviation of "CHArge de Move" or "charge for moving." This is a play on words for the Japanese "O cha demo ikaga desu ka," which translates in English to "How about some tea?" – the same time it takes for CHAdeMO-equipped vehicles to charge, which is around 30 minutes or less.
Another is the Combo Connector fast charging technology that is backed by automakers like Ford, GM, Audi, Porsche, Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler. This facility integrates multiple parts into a single vehicle inlet, so customers have the flexibility of charging at majority of stations, including their own homes, regardless of the source of power.
Through a partnership with the University of the Philippines Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute (UP-EEEI), Meralco is also exploring the development of a fast charging infrastructure standard for the Philippines that will be tested for deployment for commercial use.
Care for the environment
Mentioned earlier is the introduction of a charging facility that can be powered by renewable or conventional energy. This hybrid implementation of solar and wind facilities for a charging station is a first in the local EV space. Both can complement each other in renewable energy generation, and as such, are able to produce the needed power by the EV charging equipment.
This technology provides for a charging station that has a potential for using renewable energy source, which produces no pollutants and allows for a virtually zero carbon emission vehicle. This is a testament to Meralco’s commitment to search for clean and alternative sources of power to its consumers.
2021: The advent of renewable technology and smart grid integration
“Meralco aims to celebrate 2021, the quincentennial or 500th year of the discovery of the Philippine Islands by the western world, as the year when all the technologies we are exploring today, and many more, will be fully operational and improving the lives and livelihoods of millions of our customers” says Oscar Reyes, President and CEO of Meralco. He adds, “Our Chairman, Mr. Manny V. Pangilinan, has provided all of us in Meralco the mandate and the guidance to make a bright and energy-smart future possible. This includes as an integral part, the prospect of driving an e-vehicle and charging in a smartgrid integrated EV power station which we hope excites you as much as us. The prototype you see today is a product of both hard work and promise.”
Apart from the Meralco eVehicle Power Station, the Company is also exploring other innovations such as the household use of renewable energy via solar PVs and the associated net metering, as well as smart grid integration.
“We will be ready if the market is there, and customers demand this service. I would therefore say, welcome to the future,” Reyes concludes.