Electric revolution of transport in the Philippines

Electric transport in the Philippines

The Philippines is revolutionizing its public transports, gradually implementing the use of electric vehicles in order to reduce pollution. The replacement of iconic “Jeepneys” and motorized tricycles aims at helping to clean the atmosphere for the Filipinos and fostering the development of new industries.

In order to curb the emissions of CO2 that are currently on a trajectory to quadruple in 25 years, the Philippine government plans to develop a national electric vehicles industry. Doing so, it hopes to tackle the problems of pollution while reducing fuel imports and stimulating economic growth and employment in the related sectors of parts and battery supply chain, as well as solar-powered charging stations.

Electric shuttles to replace the Jeepneys

In Manila, the iconic but heavily polluting diesel engine “Jeepneys” are being replaced by 20-seat electric shuttles. Global Electric Transportaion, an American-Filipino joint venture, is rolling out 20,000 electric vehicles, called “The Comet” in place of some of the 55,000 existing Jeepneys that make up 40% of transportation in Manila.

This move aims at reducing air pollution, but it comes with a higher cost of investment that should be covered during the use of vehicles: even though the electric shuttles are more expensive to acquire, their operating costs are lower than Jeepneys.

Technical specifications of the electric vehicles make it useful for public transport rather than private transport:

  • up to 100 km per day
  • top speed: 60km/h
  • 4 hour electric charge
  • reduction of CO2 and NO emissions
  • future plans include making the electric shuttle solar-powered

The new vehicles are also very interesting for drivers who can avoid the costs of rising fuel prices, thus providing them with an increase of income.

Pilot project of electric tricycles with the Asian Development Bank

The move to replace the Manila Jeepneys with electric vehicle is not an isolated case. It comes after a pilot project launched in the Philippines in 2012 with the help of the Asian Development Bank – ADB – to replace gasoline tricyles with electric vehicles, “e-Trikes”.

National goals and funding of electric tricycles

The project to replace 100,000 of the 3.5 million operating gas tricycles withelectric ones aims at reducing air and noise pollution and rising income from drivers.

The replacement of the tricycles is the key to significantly reduce pollution in the whole country as they account for more than 2/3 of the pollution generated by the Philippine entire transportation sector. And it will save the cost of fuel imports of more than 100 million USD per year.

In addition to a 300 million USD loan, ADB is also granting a 105 million USD loan from its clean technology fund to finance the project along the 99 million USD from the Philippine government. Together they will fund this 5-year project that should be completed by the end of 2017.

Advantages of electric tricycles for drivers

For the tricycles drivers e-trikes are also very advantageous:

  • Cost of 1 USD per day to recharge the battery of the e-trike compared to the 6 to 8 USD per day spent on gas for regular tricycles
  • Can run from 8 to 10 hours a day
  • Result: 10 to 12 USD extra par day compared to regular tricycles
  • Silent to operate
  • Up-front costs are higher, but the costs to maintain are inferior in the long-run

Videos by Channel News Asia from July 2014, and Asian Development Bank from 2012

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