Philippine Environmental Solutions: The E-Jeepney

The E-Jeepney in Makati City

The E-Jeepney in Makati City

The Electronic Jeepney, or the E-Jeepney, is a minibus that runs on electricity. The E-jeepney carries 17 passengers and can run 120km on an 8-hour charge from an electric outle using power from biodegradable waste.

In response to calls for reduced greenhouse gas emissions and the rise of oil prices, Robert Puckett, the President of Solar Electric Company in the Philippines, made the E-Jeepney his brainchild. With the support of Greenpeace and through the office of Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay, four E-Jeepneys were deployed to ply routes around Makati City. Two of the E-Jeepneys were prototypes from Guangzhou, China and the other two were made by the Motor Vehicle Parts Manufacturars Association of the Philippines (MVPMAP). The E-Jeepney runs a maximum 40km per hour.

The E-Jeepney is still on its test phase, and will undergo technical and commercial test for 6 months in Makati City. If all goes well in the test phase, then the electric fleet of E-Jeepneys will increase to 50 units. Also, as stated in the project’s MOA, Makati City will also provide a facility that will generate power from the biodegradable wastes from the city’s food establishments and wet markets where the E-Jeepneys can be plugged.

Bacolod City in Negros Occidental, Baguio CIty in Benguet and Puerto Princessa City in Palawan have already also launched a similar campaign to make use of E-Jeepneys in their respective cities.

The E-Jeepneys are the first public transport system of its kind in Southeast Asia. Well, if you exclude the golf cart. Oh yeah, the golf cart isn’t public transportation, it’s privilege transportation.

Anyway, The E-Jeepny is a step in the right direction towards providing an environmental solution to the problems of pollution and greenhouse gas emissions in the cities of the Philippines and Southeast Asia. In fact, it’s so damn good that Greenpeace and GRIPP (Green Renewable Independent Power Producer) extended their support during the inauguration.

In today’s edition of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, there were reports that Boracay mayor Wilbec Gelito will also be making use of the E-Jeepneys in the island of Boracay to lessen the air and noise pollution caused by the 2-stroke engine tricycles that are abundant on the island. According to the article, the tricycles in Boracay have increased by as much as three times over the last 5 years, with a total of about 1,800 tricycles in the area. These tricycles give out a lot of smog and are also responsible for the noise pollution which goes to up to around 70 decibels. Hearing damage due to long-term exposure is pegged at some 80-90 decibels and a jack hammer is at around 100 db. In other words, the tricycles are loud. However, they have been made the main choice of transportation because of its affordability, durability and easy maintenance.

But then, so far, the studies on the E-Jeepney have shown that eventually it will save money for the drivers because it will do away with the expenses for oil and gasoline. How much it will save is currently being studied with the Makati project.

My Two Cents on The E-Jeepney

I’m all for the E-Jeepney and I really do hope that more of these vehicles will be deployed in the country. Makati City will be deploying 50 units if the test phase works. That sounds good, but I’m sure they can do better. I see the potential of the small step being undertaken by Makati City, Bacolod City, Puerto Princessa City, Baguio City, GRIPP, Greenpeace, the Solar Electric Company, and “to whom else is concerned” but the 50 units that will ply Makati City is still no match to the thousands of carbon-dioxide emitting vehicles, which includes the buses and the other jeeps. Apart from putting the E-Jeepney into the picture, there should also be efforts to get rid of the smoke-belching vehicles from the streets. If you don’t take them out, the pollution will still be significant, and 50 E-Jeepneys might not be able to compete with the thousands of smoke-belchers in bringing down greenhouse gas emissions. This is not Sparta! And worse still, the 50 E-Jeepneys might just add to the traffic problem. Of course, I mean that in humor and not in skepticism.

Eventually, the E-Jeepney should also be considered to become an E-Bus, so that they can replace the smoke-belching buses that ply the EDSA route. I’m sure everyone will appreciate an E-Bus on EDSA that runs 40km per hour.

Apparently one of these E-Jeepneys will costs around Php370,000. Well, at least the prototypes from China. Definitely, it’s not that cheap for the regular jeepney driver to afford, but then with the proper financing from other groups, corporations and organizations, then these can be made more affordable. Maybe even the oil firms of our country can step up to include an electric charging unit in their gas stations that runs on biodegradable waste. Bright idea there.

Personally, I would love to see the E-Jeepney dominate the entire public transportation system in the cities. Leave the buses for provincial routes, but let the E-Jeepney dominate the city scene. EVERY CITY!

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8 Responses to “Philippine Environmental Solutions: The E-Jeepney”

  1. Noli San Jose Says:

    We should try to promote the idea of the E-Jeepney. BTW, Discovery Channel run a series on Green Earth and, guess what, the E-Jeepney is one of the episode winners (fyi, the series has several episodes and it seems like it has a winner per episode).

    We should also lobby for the replacement of all jeepneys in metro manila wiht E-Jeepneys.

  2. What do you think of E-motorcycles? You think people would buy them here in the Philippines?

    Oh and I agree that efforts should be made to get rid of smoke-belching vehicles. I wonder why there are so many out there but I don’t see authorities reprimanding them.

  3. Nothing will be done because the Pi is a 3rd-world country run by simple-minded, short-sighted people. It will always lag other countries in SE Asia.

  4. Very interesting! Our punong barangay here in brgy. Sto Niño, Marikina City is also very much interested in the details of this E-Jeepney. Can you please give us some details, whom to contact to so as we can also purchase an E-Jeepney? Your assistance will be very much appreciated. Thank you very much and more power!

  5. Hey Charles! I believe your from the Philippines, if that’s how you view your country, I think it would be better if you leave the country and find some place suitable of your own taste. The reason why the Philippines is not improving is because of people like you…simple minded and short sighted… You mentioned that nothing will be done because the PI is a third world country, is that how short sighted you are? You view things in a very limited way, maybe that’s how you view yourself as well. nothing will be done because you’re hopeless, trapped in a world of hopelessness…Get out of this country, or better yet make yourself productive!

  6. The idea of getting power from biodegradable waste is a good idea but has engineering problems. For one how to store & transfer the power generated(unless you have a farm or piggery to get all those biogas to power those generators). Add it takes about 8hrs to fully charge these lead-acid batts. What we need it to look for multiple solutions that can solve multiple problem but at the same time intergrating it with exisisting system to make it more affordable. Maybe swapping batteries is a good idea. Also developing small E-cars with aircons that will also make people more open to the idea of pure electric transport systems. In any country whether 3rd-world or developed country it will all goes down to affordability, ease of use and gov’t/business suppport. Case: US & UK have electric-fleet programs but are not doing that well because of cost over performance issues. Hopefully the rise of oil related product will let people see the cost-benefit of using electric transports.

  7. dvopilgrim Says:

    I have a post entitled “Jeepney: Blessing or Curse?” where I have a few suggestions about jeepneys and the traffic problem in general. Here’s an excerpt:

    “I believe that the jeepney today, instead of being the blessing that it had been in the past 60 years, has become an archaic relic of the past, an invention that had its day, and should be encased in a museum of Philippine history.”

    Read more here:

    http://www.sunstar.com.ph/manila/letter-editor-2

  8. HIGH RANKING OFFICIAL OF BORACAY ISLAND INTO LAND GRABBING.
    A high ranking government official of Malay refuses to vacate a beach front property which lease expired 16 years ago. The high ranking official operates a popular beach front club in the said island. Now, the real owners of the said property will be facing an estafa case after they have sold and failed to deliver the said property to the new owners. The seller offered to exchange the property with another property in a different location but the said high ranking official also occupies the said lot without any lease contract. As per our inquiry at the assessors office, the said properties are indeed under the name of the seller’s family.

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