Following the introduction of electric jeepneys in Makati and in Pasig in 2009, the government has launched last year its junior, the e-tricycle, also known as ‘E-trike.’
Tricycles, found everywhere from cities to remote areas, remain to be a significant mode of transportation for the public. There are currently around 3.5 million tricycles all over the country which translates to 45 percent of all registered motor vehicles nationwide.
Its small size which is ideal for shorter travel and low cost due to simple construction makes it the transport of choice for most of Filipinos.
Twenty E-trikes were deployed in April last year, in a joint effort by the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), as part of test runs to counter the disadvantages of conventional combustion engines. As we all know, conventional tricycles are run by carbureted two-stroke engines which are not only inefficient but a dirty source of air pollution.
From this pilot tests, it was determined that a conventional tricycle which would need P250 of gasoline to cover 100 km in a day’s work would only cost P50 of electricity for the e-trike covering the same distance. That’s a P200 savings a day which would mean additional cash for tricycle drivers to buy food for their family!
This effort, if used in a wide scale, will not only answer our seemingly unending problem with spiraling oil prices but also aid in combating global warming.
The DOE and ADB will partner to create a National Electric Vehicle Strategy, which will have a committed fund of $500 Million coming from the ADB. While the strategy is being developed, the DOE will start introducing e-tricycles, e-jeepneys, e-buses, and e-cars with the help of local entrepreneurs and technical experts.
The agency is currently developing a sustainable model for introducing e-tricycles. Starting with the launching of the E-Trike Design competition, it envisions that the promotion of e-tricycles will spur the development of local capabilities to design and maintain small-sized electric cars.
The government’s vision is truly a commendable effort and everyone’s help is solicited.
We have to envision among ourselves a very near future that soon, a Prius, which runs with both electric and petrol systems and is now a common sight in many roads of many first-world countries, can also become a regular vehicle to Filipinos.
The road ahead is long and narrow but we have to thread the straight road together towards greatness, towards a first world Philippines.