February 24, 2018, 10:36 pm
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Creating a system for financing, deployment of EVs for public transportation crucial

CREATING a complete system that allows for selection, financing, purchase and deployment of electric vehicles as well as linking various modes of EVs for public transportation can help push the sector and deliver better services to the Filipino riding public.

Rommel Juan, president of the Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (EVAP) said in an interview that a complete electric vehicle transport solution package that puts together high-quality electric vehicles designed for Philippine roads, a battery charging or swapping system and vehicle retail financing is the key to attracting the traditional public transport practitioners to go electric.

Juan says that success stories at the local government level are based on the business model he cited. Giving as an example, the City of Mandaluyong where more than 100 units of electric tricycles or e-tricycles called “Etrikebayan” are deployed and working successfully.

“This is perhaps the biggest single deployment of any EV in a single community. Etrikebayan drivers now enjoy not only driving smoke-free, noise-free electric tricycles but also enjoy more daily take-home pay because of higher passenger capacity and higher ridership as well.”

The Mandaluyong e-tricycle service was launched by a company called EV Wealth while the operations are financed by a sister company. The financing converts the driver’s daily “boundary” into the amortization to pay for the e-trike he operates. At the end of the loan period, the driver ends up owning the vehicle.

At the time of introduction of the service, many drivers and operators were fearful of converting from operating regular gasoline powered tricycles because of stalling when the power from the batteries is depleted. The system in place in Mandaluyong solves this problem through a central charging station and a battery swap procedure.

Juan explains that one central charging station and several mobile swapping stations are scattered around strategic locations in the city. Drivers can have their used batteries swapped with freshly-charged ones in under a minute.

Retail financing is also made available by an EVWealth sister company thus the driver’s daily “boundary” actually now becomes his daily amortization. At the end of the loan period, the driver ends up owning the ETrikebayan.

“The traditional tricycle drivers thus willingly give up their old, polluting two-stroke and four-stroke tricycles for this eco-friendly alternative because the system is complete and it works”, adds Juan. “These e-tricycles are now slowly becoming increasingly visible in the streets of Mandaluyong and we hope more cities will follow suit.”

As for e-jeepneys, the largest fleet of about 20 units is now operating in Filinvest City in Alabang and has become a permanent fixture in the area. 

“The e-jeepney service is remarkable kasi it’s organized and very professional,” says Karina de Leon, a cell center employee in Alabang. “The vehicles are quiet, always clean and are not overcrowded. People stand in line because there a policies in place,” she adds.

“The e-jeepneys of Filinvest have been happily accepted by the commuters in the district. The fleet is managed by Electric Vehicle Expansion Enterprises, Inc. (EVEEI) which runs, maintains, charges and operates the electric jeepney fleet,” Juan explains.

Juan says that EVEEI trains their drivers on proper driving techniques, decorum and safety. “Drivers even wear uniforms and the e-jeepneys are dispatched and closely monitored daily. This is a system that may be replicated in other areas where green transport is being promoted”.

The Vista Land Group of the Villars also now deploys e-jeepneys in their real estate developments in Las Pinas, Bacolod and Iloilo, operated by their official transport group, Metro Express. These e-Jeepneys conveniently transport residents to and from the nearest major thoroughfares and commercial establishments.

“EVAP is happy to announce that these successful complete systems are now the proof of concept (POC) examples that show people that EV transport programs really work. Now we can show these to traditional public transport operators to entice them to go electric”, Juan concludes.

But to take the operations one step further, Juan says that by consolidating the operations of both e-trikes and e-jeepneys in an area, a seamless, non-polluting and efficient transport system can be put in place.

This project is envisioned to have common passenger waiting and quick charge and battery swapping stations the infrastructure of which will be provided by the local government. The system can also be enhanced with other services that will make queuing more comfortable for commuters. Linking e-trike and e-jeepney operations in such a consolidated terminal will also help organize commuters travels. 

“The idea is to come up with a system and the corresponding infrastructure. A system that is disciplined and effective in solving the current transport needs within specific areas, using clean-air and quiet systems” the EVAP president said.
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