(Reuters Life !) – The Philippines launched a test of 20 electric tricycles in metro Manila on Wednesday under an Asian Development Bank programme it hopes will cut air pollution and slash millions of dollars from its fuel import bill.
President Benigno Aquino said his government plans to distribute 20,000 electric tricycles for public transport across the country, which he said would cut fares for consumers and raise the incomes of operators.
“I dream of a day when our public utility vehicles will run on some alternative fuel. This electric tricycle project is a humble beginning towards that ambitious end,” Aquino said after a short ride in one of the battery-powered vehicles.
Over 3.5 million tricycles, similar to Thailand’s tuk-tuks, are used for public transport in the Philippines, producing more than 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide and consuming up to $5 billion of imported fuel each year, the ADB said.
“Every 20,000 e-trikes that are introduced to Manila’s streets will save the Philippines 100,000 litres of foreign fuel imports each day, saving the country about $35 million annually,” ADB energy specialist Sohail Hasnie said in a statement.
Emissions from the transport sector accounted for 30 percent of all pollution in the country. Inefficient public transport, such as buses, mini-buses and motorcycles, caused 80 percent of the pollution in Manila’s crowded streets, the ADB said.
Under the test in central Mandaluyong city in metro Manila, 10 tricycles would use a battery that could run for 80 to 100 km on a single charge, and 10 would use a battery that would deliver about half that range. One of four battery-charging stations set up for the test would be solar-powered. (Reporting by Manuel Mogato; Editing by John Mair)