A partnership between the Aquino government and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has established a national strategy to reduce the carbon footprint of road transport in the Philippines.
The National Electric Vehicle Strategy (NEVS) is being implemented to promote the use of alternative fuel vehicles. Mandaluyong City in Metro Manila was the first local government unit to receive 20 electric tricycles (or e-tricycles) for testing and demonstration.
These “green” vehicles have a seating capacity of six to eight passengers and run on rechargeable batteries. Charging takes about 20 minutes and drivers can charge their vehicles in four charging stations throughout the city.
The e-tricycles will allow drivers to save money intended for buying conventional fuel and will also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. On top of this, the ADB has committed $500 million to support the e-tricycle project.
Later on, the strategy calls for introducing a wide range of electronic vehicles, such as tricycles, jeepneys, buses, and cars with the help of local entrepreneurs and technical experts.
The Department of Energy (DOE) envisions that the promotion of e-tricycles will spur development of local capabilities to design and maintain small-sized electric cars. This will entice private investors to set-up local manufacturing facilities that will lead to the creation of more jobs and a dynamic market for locally assembled units for export to the ASEAN region in the future.
A parallel effort is the Fueling Sustainable Transport Program (FSTP) that seeks to convert public and private vehicles from conventional to alternative fuels.
These include compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, and electric power. With ADB funding, the DOE, through the FSTP, likewise, aims to launch a series of pilot runs of electric and LPG jeepneys, as well as demonstration runs of electric buses and cars to show their viability in the country.
In the long run, DOE expects to reduce the number of gasoline and diesel-fed transport vehicles in the country by 30% by 2020, providing a cleaner way forward for Philippine transportation.