Business students Keanu John Pelitro, Alek Punzalan, and Angelene Yaptangco formed the winning team CHARGE2XSHELL, posing for a photo with representatives from Shell company. (Photo by Alek Punzalan)

Three business students from the University of the Philippines—one coming from Palawan—were hailed as the grand champions recently for their research on electric vehicle (EV) charging sites in the Philippines at the Shell Business Operations Office in Manila.

They prevailed among 150 participants nationwide who competed in the Shell Open Day 2023: Business Case Competition, organized on September 9 by Shell companies for their research on electric vehicle (EV) charging sites in the Philippines.

The winning three-man team consisted of fourth-year UP students Palaweño Keanu John Pelitro, and Angelene Yaptangco, led by Alek Punzalan.

The event is part of Shell’s initiative to give university students and fresh graduates a chance to present innovative market and landscape research to Shell companies and their associates, with this year’s theme being “Powering an Electric Future for Mobility”.

Pelitro said that when their team was announced as part of the Top 10 finalists for the first round on August 26, they wasted no time in strategizing their approach for the case (details of which are omitted as the case is now the property of Shell companies).

“Alek, as our team leader, played a pivotal role. She took charge of the case strategy, project management. Ange specialized in handling the financial aspects of our case, and my expertise was in surveying and research,” said Pelitro. He also noted that he and Yaptangco worked on the advertising aspect of their marketing strategy.

The team, along with the other finalists, had an exclusive mentorship program and were toured around the Shell facilities at SLEXD Malampasan, where Punzalan and Yaptangco saw the operations for Shell’s EV charging stations.

When asked if their winning case would be useful in possibly introducing EV charging stations in Palawan, Pelitro mentioned that they proposed an expansion of the project to existing Shell stations during their presentation since their case was tailored to a specific area in Metro Manila.

He noted that there was a lack of existing data and research on EV cars in Palawan. However, findings from their comprehensive research showed a promising growth in the sales of electric vehicles in the country.

“This trend suggests that EVs may eventually find their way to Palawan. Such a possibility could serve as motivation for Shell to consider establishing Shell Recharge facilities in the province,” said Pelitro.

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