South Korean firm ENPlus has confirmed that it will invest five billion Philippine pesos (around USD98.6 million or RM408.9 million) to set up an electric vehicle manufacturing facility in the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) economic zone.

This comes after PEZA director general Charito B. Plaza signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with ENPlus CEO and chairman Young Yong Ahn for joint ventures to provide and manufacture fuel-saving EVs, which include electric jeepneys.

“ENPlus will be our first electric vehicle manufacturer to be registered under PEZA where they can avail special incentives for pioneering projects,” said Plaza. “ENPlus will invest PHP five billion to manufacture and operate facilities of electric cars and electric jeepneys in the municipality of Pulupandan (Port of Pulupandan) which is situated in Negros Occidental,” she added.

PEZA will also provide a 30-hectare plot of land to link prospect industries to ENPlus for joint investment ventures and other related agreements for eligible projects.

ENPlus’ primary business involves making fire-fighting vehicles and equipment, but it recently began expanding into EVs, prompting their decision to invest in the Philippines, reports Autoindustriya. Besides fire-fighting products, the company also develops and builds other special purpose vehicles, which will likely be beneficial when making e-jeepneys.

“ENPlus really appreciates partnering with PEZA in supplying electric vehicles,” commented Young. “We are also thankful to the Philippines for [allowing us] to supply more than 100 units of pump trucks, water trunks, aerial ladder and rescue trucks last year in the country,” he added.

“We’d like to make a better world and provide more fire trucks and electric vehicles to the Philippines. With this, we would like to expand our business in your country to manufacture environment and energy-friendly vehicles starting with your jeepneys since they are the most popular mode of transportation in your country,” he ended.

ENPlus’ decision to invest in the Philippines is certainly encouraging as the country aims to become a hub for electric vehicles in the ASEAN region. The local House of Representatives recently passed House Bill 10213 (Electric Vehicle Industry Development Act) that is aimed at supporting the development of a national policy and regulatory framework to increase the uptake of EVs in the country.