The Electric Jeepney of the Philippines


A consortium between Greenpeace, Green Renewable Independent Power Producer and the Solar Electric Company, have unveiled a program to introduce electric motor powered jeepney in Philippine streets.

The jeepney is the main mode of transportation in this Southeast Asian country. When the United States military forces left the country after the Second World War, they left a large number of jeeps. These jeeps were named for the General Purpose transports used during the war. Over time, the locals adapted these motorized transports into jeepneys, extending the transport capacity from the four passengers and driver to as many as twenty people as passengers. Many say that you have not been truly in the Philippines if you have not taken this truly unique mode of passenger transport.

The jeeps were built in China and would be known as e-Jeepneys. They run on a five horsepower electric motor using power supplied from twelve (12) batteries. This set up allows the vehicle a range of 140 kilometers at a top speed of 40 kph. The batteries would require eight hours of battery charging on a standard 220-volt power at about Php 120, or just under three U.S. dollars. Comparatively, an average internal combustion engine powered jeepney would need Php 300 or US$6.50 of diesel per day.

As a passenger transport vehicle, the e-Jeepneys can carry up to twelve passengers. There is an option to outfit the vehicle with solar panels to charge the batteries on the go. The main drawback would be its cost, as it costs Php 100,000 or (US$2,200), much more expensive than a diesel jeepney. This cost difference though can be recovered with the lower overall fuel costs.

A local manufacturer, Motor Vehicle Parts Manufacturers Association of the Philippines, is also joining the fray as it plans to provide local auto parts for the e-Jeepney. It also plans to build their own e-Jeepneys that are proudly Philippine made. Unlike the Chinese version that has been likened to an enlarged go-cart, the local version called the e-PhUV would be a replica of the real public utility jeep plying the routes throughout many of the cities and provinces of the country.

It is projected that about fifty units would start running in Makati City, the countries premier business district and Bacolod City, the capital city of the province of Negros Occidental. The goal is to expand the use of e-Jeepneys throughout the country.

According to Jasper Inventor, a climate and energy campaigner of Greenpeace, “The climate problem exacerbates urban environmental challenges for our cities. The national government should take this seriously and heed the international scientific community’s findings that governments should quickly find and implement climate solutions of which the e-Jeepney is an example.”