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Locally-made E-jeepney Set to Boost Philippine Circular Economy

Image credits: pna.gov.ph

Pee government statistics,  over 200,000 jeepneys are plying the roads of the Philippines, making them the foremost choice of public transportation. The name itself is derived from the smaller American army jeeps from which they’ve been initially modelled. Now, these numerous public rides are bound to get a drastic overhaul in terms of power consumption as locally-made electronic jeepneys are being introduced by the government to the Asian country’s general population.

As the world is focused on lowering carbon emissions prescribed in the Net-Zero 2050 Goals, the Philippine government is stepping up its plans to make a circular economy happen. Recently, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the country’s leading clean energy industry body Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (EVAP)  introduced the locally-made 23-seater electric jeepney (e-jeepney) via a demo run in Alabang, Muntinlupa.

As per government data, the e-jeepney was made by the engineers of EVAP, while the research and development, and prototyping were funded by the DOST for PHP 4.9 million (US$ 93,350.24). This has been confirmed by Enrico Paringit, Executive Director DOST-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST PCIEERD).

Moreover, Paringit disclosed that the private sector is starting to use the technology.  A local brand, for instance, has already committed to adopting the technology and manufacturing the 23-seater jeepney. In addition, the government leader also calls on other manufacturers to become early adopters.

We urge our friends from the industry to work together in this journey towards energising the transport sector for the successful adoption of e-vehicles. We call on our partners in government and in the private sector to come up with creative support mechanisms, like financing and leasing, so that the manufacturing of the vehicle or its components could be more attractive for investors, and will eventually benefit the operators and drivers and the riding public.

– Fortunato de la Peña, Secretary, Department of Science and Transportation

Further, the DOST, said de la Peña, has been pushing for environment-friendly initiatives and alternatives to promote a much more sustainable economy. The goal can be a lot easier to reach with the use of electric vehicles. As the DOST leader detailed electrifying the country’s transportation sector is one of the ways the country can free itself from the skyrocketing prices of fossil fuel and protect our environment at the same time.

According to de la Peña, EVAP studied and developed battery charging and swapping systems using lithium-ion batteries, as well as a workable operations template that involves fleet operations and the collection of daily loan amortisation.

The e-jeepney has a lot of advantages when it comes to promoting a circular economy. For one, it features low-carbon electric vehicle technology and production standards. To make it all happen, however, standardisation of common parts and components is crucial to drive down costs, ensure safety and assure reliability, the industry leader detailed.

Paringit, meanwhile, acknowledged that the project would not be possible without the Filipino team assembling and supplying the e-vehicle parts and components. Having the e-jeepney would help reduce the country’s reliance on fossil fuels and improve the air quality in communities, he added.

Digital transformation is key in making a circular economy happen faster. Already, digitalisation has been crucial in allowing the country’s top tax-collecting bodies to function despite the pandemic. For instance, it has become the main driver of the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s success. The agency was able to post substantial numbers in spite of the fact that people are caught in a seemingly endless cycle of lockdowns.

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