President Benigno â€œNoynoyâ€ Aquino III on Wednesday transferred 20 Asian Development Bank (ADB)-funded electric tricycles (e-trikes) to the City of Mandaluyong, marking an important first step towards a sustainable, energy-efficient transport model for the country.
Pres. Aquino tries out the e-trike along with Mandaluyong City mayor Benhur Abalos
Emissions from the transport sector currently represent 30-percent of all pollution in the country, and approximately 80 percent of air pollution in Metro Manila. A sizeable proportion of vehicle emissions are attributable to inefficient public transport, particularly from tricycles, jeepneys, and buses.
The 20 e-trikes are part of an ADB-funded project to introduce energy-efficient transportation alternatives in the Philippines. ADB is currently in discussions with the government and other development partners on a proposed project to significantly scale up the rollout of energy efficient e-trikes in Manila and other urban areas as early as 2012.
â€œWorking together, we can give Manila cleaner air, bluer skies, and a more livable environment,â€ said Kunio Senga, director general of ADBâ€™s Southeast Asia Department.
â€œThe Philippines is assuming a leading role in Asia in supporting green transportation alternatives, and if e-trikes are followed by new fleets of electric buses and jeepneys, the effect could be transformative.â€
Over 3.5 million motorized tricycles are currently operating in the Philippines, producing more than 10 million tons of carbon dioxide and using close to $5 billion of imported fuel each year.
Motorized tricycles â€” which are motorcycles with sidecars â€” are popularly used as low-cost public transport for short distances.
â€œEvery 20,000 e-trikes that are introduced to Manilaâ€™s streets will save the Philippines 100,000 liters of foreign fuel imports each day, saving the country about $35 million annually,â€ said ADBâ€™s principal energy specialist Sohail Hasnie.
â€œThis initiative not only benefits the environment, but it also supports the Philippines drive to become more energy independent.â€
The e-trike hits the road alongside a conventional tricycle.
Though the new e-trikes have higher up-front costs, older petrol tricycles are more than twice as expensive to operate and maintain in the long run. The cost savings will directly increase the incomes of e-trike operators.
The new ADB-supported e-trikes use lithium ion batteries, commonly used in laptop computers and mobile phones. The batteries can be recharged approximately 2,000 times, in contrast to lead acid batteries used in older e-trike models that need to be replaced every two years.
A recently concluded phase-one ADB pilot project demonstrated that the Philippines has the local manufacturing capacity and technical skills base to build and maintain a large e-trike fleet. Once thousands of e-trikes begin to be manufactured, many new jobs could be created.
Factoring in electricity required for charging the batteries, the e-trikesâ€™ carbon footprint will be less than one quarter of petroleum-fueled tricyclesâ€™ carbon dioxide emissions.
As part of the pilot project, ADB will install four charging stations in Mandaluyong City, which will be able to charge the e-trike batteries to 50 percent capacity in less than 30 minutes. One of the charging stations will use solar energy.