Startup unveils ‘green’ jeepney

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A local startup company seeks to reinvent the iconic jeepney.

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QEV Philippines Electromobility Solutions and Consulting Group Inc. unveiled a model of its “green” jeepney, which is capable of running in a 140-180 kilometer range even with just a 15-minute charge.

Jeepneys, one of the most popular means of transportation in the Philippines, were remodeled from military vehicles left by American soldiers following World War II.

The company, which launched the e-jeepney in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City last Thursday night, said it plans to convert 50,000 jeepneys over the next five years by replacing their internal combustion engines with lithium-ion batteries. This applies to jeepneys whose lifespan is 10 years or lower.

If the proposal is approved, QEV Philippines will undertake the electrification and conversion process of these vehicles. Listed company AboitizPower Corporation’s Cleanergy brand will energize 300 charging stations.

The electromobility holding firm said jeepney drivers and operators will not pay for the conversion, as it proposing that the government use a portion of the sin tax to shoulder its cost.

It stressed that it is only changing the “heart” of the jeepney and the project is different from the public utility vehicle (PUV) modernization program of the Duterte administration. Launched last June 19, the program intends to improve the overall commuting experience by upgrading PUVs and overhauling the public transportation system.

The company, which plans to roll out the “green” jeepneys this year, is in discussions with their partners including SM, Ayala, and Shell. It is also looking at partnering with local jeepney manufacturing companies such as Sarao Motors Inc.

It partnered with Sarao Motors to design the prototype of the electric jeepney, which was seven months in the making. A jeepney was sent to Spain for research and development to study how its diesel engines could be changed into an electric one.

A local subsidiary of QEV Capital Pte. Ltd., QEV Philippines is a joint venture of entrepreneurs Endika Aboitiz and Enrique Bañuelos.

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