The Department of Energy (DoE) on Thursday announced that it will still push through with the long-delayed e-trike project although on a much smaller scale from the original 100,000 units to just 3,000 and from the original project cost of P21.672 billion to P1.73 billion.
DoE Secretary Alfonso Cusi suspended a five-year loan to the project in 2016, citing significant flaws in the project’s design, including the choice of just one model, and pricing concerns.
The department will now move to showcase potential use of clean and diversified energy technologies through the e-trike, according to Energy Assistant Secretary Leonido Pulido 3rd.
Since the approval of the project by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) in June 2013, recorded investments in e-trike manufacturing and support reached P500 million and generated 14,840 jobs as of the end of 2016, according to the Board of Investments and Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines.
This month, the NEDA-Investment Coordination Committee took note of a DoE proposal last March on revised project implementation, including additional deployment options and arrangements.
Since there would be substantial changes in the project, the DoE is securing amendments to the loan and project administration manual and related documents with the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
The current DoE leadership is pushing through with procurement of the 3,000 units of e-trikes instead of 100,000 units because this had already been contracted by the previous administration.
Pulido explained that the Energy department decided on 3,000 e-trike units as a sufficient quantity to demonstrate the viability of the technology.
“Sustainability dictates that the appropriate eco-system be in place to support the e-trike beyond deployment or at the point of sale. The terms of the contract of the winning bidder under the project include after-sales support and warranty. This sends a clear and strong signal to the public to make the switch to e-trikes,” he said.
Prior to the e-trike project, there had been previous attempts to deploy electric tricycles in various parts of the country.
These early attempts, however, failed because after-sales support was absent or inadequate.
During the pilot study, which served as the basis for the e-trike project conducted by the ADB in 2011, after-sales support and warranty were key lessons learned that would determine the success or failure of the project, Pulido pointed out.
Still, he said, the DoE is committed to working with the ADB and government partners to address the socially sensitive issue of the project regarding price.
The department said the ADB’s international competitive bidding rules were observed in every step of the project.
The original project scope of deploying 100,000 e-trike units with a total project cost of P21.672 billion required various arrangements involving the government, the private sector and the ADB.
Pulido said the project is an investment not only in technology and the environment but, more important, it is a socio-economic investment that would jumpstart a nascent industry, generate jobs and ensure sustainable energy consumption in the country.