Friday, November 13, 2009

E Jeepney

I saw an e-jeepney this morning on my way to work. They're colorful, free and environment friendly because they use electricity instead of fossil fuels.

I found this article from which explains it better than I can :-)

E-jeepneys take over 2 Makati villages’ routes
By DJ Yap
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 22:07:00 07/05/2008

Filed Under: Transport, Road Transport, Environmental Issues
SLEEK, COLORFUL and environment-friendly, the electric powered or “e-jeepney” finally made its commercial debut at the Makati central business district early this month, drawing plaudits from Earth lovers everywhere.

A year after the pilot test of the project on Ayala Avenue, environmentalists and city officials rolled out the first batch of 14-seater e-jeepneys that were assigned separate routes around Legaspi and Salcedo Villages in the financial district.

“We consider this a historic event. This will revolutionize the transport sector in the country,” said environmentalist Von Hernandez, executive director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.


“This is a milestone in the history of motor vehicles in the Philippines,” said Land Transportation Office chief Alberto Suansing. “We shall soon see electric-powered vehicles in other places.”

The e-jeepney project is a venture of Green Renewable Independent Power Producer Inc. (GRIPP), which originated from Greenpeace and other groups, and the city of Makati.

Costing P500,000 each and running on batteries charged via electrical sockets overnight, four e-jeepneys will service office employees in the two villages for the meantime, an operation that is subject to further plans of expansion.

For the first week, commuters rode the brightly painted e-jeepneys with designs by artist Toym Imao, son of National Artist Abdulmari Imao, free of charge.

Later, they will be run like any ordinary jeepney with comparable passenger fare rates, city officials said.

The campaign is part of GRIPP’s Climate Friendly Cities Project, a multipronged program for mitigating climate change that promotes transport and waste management initiatives through renewable energy-based technology.

The projected benefits include the following:

• the reduction of greenhouse gases and air pollutants
• the containment of leachate that contaminate groundwater
• the displacement of fossil fuel
• the treatment of organic waste, and
• the improvement of local air, health and safety.

Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay said the rather delayed introduction of the e-jeepneys—a consequence of technical and bureaucratic issues—was a blessing in disguise.

“If we had officially introduced the e-jeepneys a year ago, we would hardly feel the need for it. But because of the rising cost of fuel, and the problem of air pollution, these vehicles are now very timely options,” he said.

Ferdie Raquel Santos of the Motor Vehicle Parts Manufacturers Association of the Philippines (MVPMAP), the local assemblers of two of the four units, said the e-jeepneys “are a true Filipino vehicle with 90 percent local content.”

“It runs from 40 to 60 kilometers per hour with six to eight hours of charging time. Each charge would last 90 kilometers,” he said, citing “conservative estimates.”

A single charge will cost just P158, amounting to a P3 per kilometer expense as opposed to the prevailing P8 per kilometer rate among diesel engines, Santos added.

Furthermore, a single charge will allow a driver to go all the way to Lipa City from Magallanes in Makati City, he said.

Translated into transportation terms, charging the battery overnight will allow a driver to make about 10 to 15 round trips on a three-kilometer route for two to three days, the organizers said.


MVPMAP also allayed fears that riding the e-jeepney could lead to electrocution in case of heavy floods, saying the battery would only run the risk of dying only when submerged in floodwater. Otherwise, it would work fine even during heavy rains.

For now, the e-jeepneys can only be charged via wall sockets, but plans are already afoot for the second phase of GRIPP’s Climate Friendly Cities Project, which involves the establishment of biogas digesters to power the e-jeepney batteries.

Savings on costs

GRIPP chair Athena Ballesteros said the use of biogas digesters, which converts biodegradable waste from households and restaurants, into gaseous energy, would theoretically save costs.

“If we’re not going to use electricity from Meralco (Manila Electric Co.) and start using the biogas digesters, we can still save up to one peso per kilowatt hour,” she said.

She added that Makati City and other local governments were already in the process of developing biogas power plants for the project.

Hermenegildo San Miguel, the city’s department of public safety director, said operations of the e-jeepneys start at 7 a.m. and end at 7 p.m.

Binay said the city government would study the viability of fielding 50 more e-jeepneys in the business district.

“In Makati, we have started with e-jeepneys in the hope that when it becomes commercially viable, it will address the problems of rising fuel costs, promote the use of alternative fuels and reduce the emission of greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming,” he said.

On a personal note, I am extremely happy that the Makati government has initiated this effort. I hope that this will continue to become a main form of local transportation to reduce the emissions that traditional jeepneys produce.

I remember the fist time I saw the e-jeepney pass by in front of our office, I was with my cousin Annie.

Annie:" Halika sakay tayo."

Me: "Ihahatid kaya nila tayo pabalik dito sa harap ng office?"

Annie: "Ano ka? Turista?"

It always bring a smile to my face when I remember this conversation.

Next time, pwede e-tricycle naman? :-)

Incidentally, I came across an article somewhere (sorry I can't remember where I read it) that Subic and Palawan would soon adapt the e-tricycle in their areas.

Shouldn't Metro Manila be spearheading these efforts?

Just asking.

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