Group pushes electric vehicles for tourism


THE Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (EVAP) has sent a representative to Vietnam to study EV applications in a country with driving terrains and conditions similar to those in the Philippines, in preparation for the first Asean Electric Vehicle Summit to be held in Manila this year.

The EVAP observation report noted many similarities and contrasts between Vietnam and the Philippines.

EVAP Executive Director Bong Cruz said in a statement on Wednesday that the Vietnamese have the same Asian warmth as the Filipinos, which seems to be common among people living in tropical countries.

“It must be the weather. A warm sunny weather will always put one in a good, comfortable mood. The perfect setting when one wants to get away from the hustle and bustle of the jungle city,” he said.

However, the report said that in terms of tourism development, Hanoi appears to be ahead of Manila.

EVAP President Rommel Juan noted that Vietnam’s Old Quarter and its modernistic French Quarter, which the French built during their nearly 70-year occupation of Vietnam, are both rich in history and culture and are very popular with tourists.

But what is very noticeable in Hanoi, he said, is the proliferation of electric vehicle shuttles within the tourist areas, such as around the Old Quarter and the French Quarter and the famous Hoan Kiem Lake.

The electric vehicles are actually the big six-seater golf cart varieties which are smaller yet very similar to the 14-seater electric jeepneys or ejeepneys serving Makati, Filinvest City Alabang, Muntinlupa and the Ateneo campus.

Cruz said that in the Philippines, ejeepneys are used for public transport. “This is understandable since the jeepneys are the backbone of the Philippine mass transport system. But in Vietnam, the EVs are used more in the tourism industry to promote green and convenient tourist transport that is quiet and smoke-free.”

He explained that using EVs is more enjoyable for the tourists since an electric vehicle is open on the side, making visibility greater so a tourist can absorb more of the scenery. It is also quiet so one can hear the tour guide more clearly. EVs are smoke-free so it is more convenient for tourists as they do not have to inhale engine smoke.

The EVAP report suggests that the Philippines should have more ejeepneys for tourism.

The report also noted that one thing that the Philippines has that Vietnam does not have are electric tricycles.

Juan said that etrikes are more practical, especially for those travelling in groups of five or less. Domestically, etrikes have started penetrating famous tourist areas such as Coron, Boracay, Puerto Princesa and Intramuros. But local tourism will get a boost with the introduction of ejeepneys in these sites to cater to bigger groups, the EVAP report said.

“We are now encouraging tourism industry players to help develop green tourism in the Philippines,” Cruz said.

“I believe this is one lesson we can learn from the Vietnamese: provide tourists with shuttle vehicles that are quiet, comfortable and smoke-free. This will be good for everyone in the tourism industry,” he added.


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