With the growing concern for environmental protection and with the impending implementation of eco-friendly Euro 4 compliance for diesel engines, the push for electric vehicle for mass public transport is gaining momentum. With those developments, the Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (EVAP) recently announced that they are pushing for electric vehicle for public transport application as it seems to be the only viable alternative for the industry.
EV manufacturing pioneer and EVAP president Rommel Juan said that EVs are more economical and more profitable for operators to run but operators still want tangible proof. “Now with various pilot projects in full swing with some of them for over five years now, we say that we already have proof of concept. EV technology does work,” he said.
“We again reiterate our call on transport groups and the government to please help us put into the mainstream e-jeepneys [electric jeepneys]and e-trikes [electric tricycles]in the different parts of the country,” Juan added.
E-jeepneys are now running in Makati, Filinvest City Alabang and even inside the Ateneo campus in Katipunan Avenue. E-trikes, on the other hand, are now being operated in Bacoor, Boracay, Mandaluyong and the University of the Philippines in Diliman.
Juan said the e-jeepneys and e-trikes are all viable, clean and profitable electric public transport systems that more areas should start using them. “Our campaign for electric vehicle public transport has been a long and arduous one. We started eight years ago with an NGO [non-government organization] group ICSC in Makati. It has been an intensely slow burn but we have stood firm. Now our pioneering efforts are slowly bearing fruit,” he said.
“With local players now in place and credible suppliers and manufacturers now present in the country, we can establish a full-pledged EV industry in the country. Our EVAP members are capable and credible. With early fly-by-night electric vehicle companies now weeded out, interested parties may now contact EVAP to be referred to the proper credible players in every field of the EV industry,” Juan added.
In the Philippines today, the public transport system is dominated mainly by the jeepneys and tricycles. Juan said that these are old, dilapidated dinosaurs that are sorely in need of an upgrade. “EVs are the answer. Not only are they economical but also environmentally friendly. It also makes sense because it is something indigenous so its local manufacture and assembly will promote local industry and generate the much-needed jobs,” he said.
“You do not expect jeepneys and tricycles to be imported from Japan, Korea, Thailand or Indonesia as in the case of most automotive vehicles in the Philippines. These must be locally made. And with new franchises being granted by LTFRB [Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board] only to alternative-fuelled vehicles, EVs are the top viable option,” Juan added.