|Launch of the E-Jeepneys. Click to enlarge.|
The Makati City (Philippines) government, GRIPP (Green Renewable Independent Power Producer), and Greenpeace launched a pair of electric jeepneys (E-Jeepneys) into service trials. Makati City is the financial hub of the Philippines.
Philippine renewable energy firm Solar Electric Company designed the two E-Jeepneys. The vehicles will undergo technical and commercial tests for 6 months in Makati City and eventually in key areas in the province of Negros Occidental.
The electric fleet will be increased to 50 units upon the successful conclusion of the test phase. Power for recharging the jeepneys will be generated by a high-solid anaerobic digester-based power plant using biodegradable wastes from the city’s food establishments and wet markets. The E-Jeepneys have a range of 140 kilometers (87 miles) on an eight-hour battery charge.
Jeepneys were born in the 1950s from left over WWII US jeeps. The jeeps were then refurbished to accommodate more passengers, augmented with metal roofs for shade and decorated with vibrant colours and bright ornaments making them popular and creative public transportation vehicles. While Jeepneys have evolved over the years they remain highly polluting and inefficient.
There are more than 777,000 vehicles on Makati’s major roads during weekdays, according to mayor Jejomar C. Binay, who sees the electric jeepneys as a way of reducing carbon-emission levels in the country’s financial center.
The Electric Jeepneys are part of an project led by GRIPP seeking to avoid the use of fossil fuels to help mitigate climate change, even as it addresses urban problems such as air pollution and solid waste.
The Electric Jeepneys aim to demonstrate that there are climate-friendly alternatives to the current polluting modes of public transportation in the Philippines. The iconic jeepney remains, but without wasteful and carbon emitting diesel, and while providing increased incomes to the vehicles’ drivers.
The pilot test in Makati is meant to ensure the technical, commercial, environmental and social feasibility of the project. If the project is successful, our hope is that the project will be replicated in other cities in the country and possibly other Asian capitals.—Athena Ballestros Ronquillo, founder and chair of GRIPP