ADB Supports EV Expansion in the Philippines


The Asian Development Bank is now working in conjunction with the Philippine government to promote the electric tricycle to be able to meet the country’s growing transportation requirements in a manner that is cost effective as well as environmentally responsible.

With a clear mandate showing that electric vehicles are highly efficient compared to the internal combustion engine, a ratio of seventy percent for the former to just twenty percent for the latter, the electric tricycle or e-trike is one of the programs that is now being considered worldwide. The e-trike produces no tailpipe emissions and no noise. The vehicle can be recharged overnight during off-peak electricity hours.

The multilateral financial institution would work with local government units and the private sector to create financing programs where tricycle drivers would have the opportunity to lease or own these e-trikes by paying less than two hundred pesos a day. This would provide a higher take home pay for the driver because a conventional tricycle would need almost seven liters of gasoline to travel 100 km. This would cost nearly three hundred and fifty pesos. Comparatively, for the same 100 km, this electric vehicle would use only about five kilowatt hours of electricity or just around fifty pesos per day. The cost difference in fuel savings would help the driver pay for the cost of the electric vehicle.

To complete the assembly as well as the chain of infrastructure support requirement for the projected 100,000 electric tricycles throughout the Philippines, the multilateral financial institution would be extending a financing loan of up to U.S.$500 million. While this is still a proposed amount, all the details are still being discussed especially the implementing rules and regulations for the program.

To expand the funding base for the project, there are discussions with local banks to provide additional financial support to ensure the complete implementation and success of the electric tricycle program throughout the country. While this is an ambitious target, there are now preparations being undertaken to finally deploy as many e-trikes as possible in as many local roads as possible. The program is expected to roll out 100,000 e-trike units by 2020 but the initial program provides for 20,000 e-trikes, where the pilot phase is being undertaken in Mandaluyong City.

According to estimates by ADB, each e-trike would cost around Php 200,000 to assemble, which is a major financial burden to both tricycle operators and drivers to shell out. To soften the blow, there is a package of investment incentives being recommended to allow the vehicles to become practical and affordable in the long run. ADB proposes no cash out from the drivers and operators but a system of concessional financing for the program cost.

The projected payback period would be five (5) years and can be offset from the Php 200 per day savings garnered from fuel savings because of the cheaper electric charging cost of the e-trike. It also proposes at least a thirty percent local component to handle the production side of the e-tricycle venture. The proposed areas for the e-trikes include Metro Manila, Metro Davao, Boracay, Puerto Princesa City and Cabanatuan City.

Countries Gear Up for Electric Vehicle Revolution

Electric car made from batteries
Electric car made from batteries

While Europe and the United States have been proactive in their governmental thrusts for the electric vehicle revolution, other smaller countries have also jumped in the bandwagon so to speak. One such country is the Philippines, with new legislation to support the importation and use of electric vehicles.

House Bill No. 5460 was filed in the House of Representatives seeking to provide incentives for the manufacture, assembly, conversion and importation of electric, hybrid and other alternative fuel vehicles. This is designed to push for the use of hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles to lower the dependence on imported fossil fuels.

The current cost of a liter of premium gasoline is currently pegged at Php 59.90, where the current exchange rate is at US$1 to Php 42.50. The price of gasoline and other fuel products, such as diesel and liquefied petroleum gas has been on a continuous upward spiral, with price increases occurring weekly at the least.

There have been protests from transport and other cause oriented groups, calling for the removal of the current Oil Deregulation Law and lowering the value added tax for fuel products.

On the other hand, there are many groups, both within and outside of the Philippine government that has embraced the electric vehicle revolution. The city government of Makati has a number of electric vehicles called “eJeepneys”. These are ubiquitous public transport vehicles in the country that are powered by batteries instead of the environmentally damaging internal combustion engine. Still others have developed, built and even use electricity as fuel for vehicles, the most infamous being the water-fueled car of Dr. Dingle.

The bill aims to protect the environment through mitigation of the harmful effects of carbon monoxide emissions into the air. It further defines electric vehicles as a vehicle that uses electric motors for propulsion, while a hybrid vehicle is any vehicle that uses a combination of electricity and internal combustion to propel the vehicle.

One of the benefits provided under the proposed legislation is the exemption from the payment of excise taxes and duties for nine years from the effectivity of the law. Furthermore, the measure, manufacture, assembly, conversion, and importation of electric and hybrid cars using completely knocked down (CKD) parts of electric, hybrid and other alternative fuel vehicles would also be covered under these benefits. It further expands coverage to vehicle conversions from internal combustion into electric, hybrid or other alternative fuel vehicles.

Another benefit of the law would be the payment of value-added taxes for nine (9) years from the effectivity of the law for importation of raw materials, spare parts, components and other capital equipment that would be used for the manufacture, assembly and/or conversion of electric, hybrid and other alternative fuel vehicles.

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.”