electric vehicles

In electric vehicle push, startup says logistics is the best starting point

Ralf Rivas

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In electric vehicle push, startup says logistics is the best starting point

LOGISTICS. Mober's electric-powered truck.


Mober CEO Dennis Ng says the logistics sector is the best starting point for the shift toward electric vehicles. Companies just need some incentives to go green.

MANILA, Philippines – When Dennis Ng started pitching to companies his electric vehicle (EV) delivery service, the common question he got was, “Is it cheaper?”

“There’s a myth, there’s a mindset gap…. Well, it’s partially true,” said Ng, CEO of Mober, a logistics company with a fleet of EVs. 

In terms of operating expenses, an EV truck’s cost per delivery per kilometer is just P2, as compared to a diesel-run truck which costs between P12 to P14.

The cost of buying a truck that runs purely on electricity, however, costs almost twice as much as a regular truck that runs on fossil fuel. An EV truck could cost over P3 million, while a diesel-run truck costs P1.7 million. 

“When we offer our services, we have the same rates [with the diesel-run trucks], but we never ask for a premium,” Ng said in an episode of Business Sense.

In electric vehicle push, startup says logistics is the best starting point

Charging EVs is another challenge altogether. 

Setting up Mober’s charging yard required asking the Manila Electric Company to install a new transformer. Each charger also needs a circuit breaker. Beyond the infrastructure, the problem was mostly paperwork.

With these challenges, Ng said that companies thinking of shifting to EVs will really have to commit.

“Transitioning to EV is not like just tokenization. It’s a commitment,” Ng said.


Ng sees more EVs in logistics, rather than those owned by ordinary car owners, plying the roads of Metro Manila in the coming years, as big companies pursue sustainability goals.

Mober’s client, Ikea, is aiming to be climate positive by 2030. Its more near-term goal is to reach zero emissions for deliveries by 2025. So far, Mober is the only startup offering EV delivery services. 

With Mober, companies like Ikea need not buy their own EVs or shell out cash for charging stations to achieve their sustainability goals.

In anticipation of more clients opting to shift to EVs, Mober is expanding its EV fleet. It recently raised $2 million in a seed funding round led by RT Heptagon Holdings. They are also moving to a bigger charging yard somewhere in Pasay City to accommodate more EV trucks and vans.

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Perks needed

The Philippine government is offering some perks to encourage people to shift to EVs, including zero tariffs for imports and coding exemptions. But the industry needs more.

Ng said that logistics companies must be incentivized to shift to EVs, especially since they can absorb the expenses needed to run purely on electricity. 

“On the consumer side, the main problem is range anxiety. What if I wanted to go to Baguio, is there a charger there? That’s one thing that’s stopping everybody from shifting to EV,” Ng said.

In electric vehicle push, startup says logistics is the best starting point

But for vehicles in the supply chain, schedule and distance are carefully put into consideration, making it easier to schedule charging time, and effectively erasing range anxiety.

Companies also have the ability to spend on charging stations. For instance, Mober is looking at delivering all the way to Bicol and is considering setting up charging stations, one per 100 kilometers.

Government agencies and regulations will also need to catch up. Ng is lobbying for a temporary truck ban exemption for their six-wheelers to encourage other logistics companies to shift to EVs as well.

“If we really want to shift to EVs, I think logistics is the best area to start,” he said. – Rappler.com

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Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.