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PhP 21.5 B for electric tricycles

March 2012


Another article came out today, this time from GMA News about the NEDA’s approval of a PhP 21.5 Billion project for electric tricycles. The approval of the project is said to be based on the evaluation of a feasibility study submitted by its proponent, the Department of Energy (DOE). I have not yet seen this FS and I am not aware of any formal studies in this regard that has been made public so I cannot make a fair comment with regards to what the NEDA had as reference materials in their assessment. I am aware of one private initiative where UP was involved but to my knowledge this has not been disseminated or shared by the Client to government agencies. Though caution is still very much necessary and desired when moving forward with this e-trike project (What would happen to spent batteries? Is there adequate technical support? Charging stations? Policies regarding phasing out conventional tricycles?), it is hoped that this will be one of those “tipping point” moments that will ultimately benefit the country.

The article on the e-trike is reproduced below:

MELAY GUANZON LAPEÑA, GMA News March 26, 2012 5:29pm

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) approved a P21.5-billion project to promote sustainable transportation and achieve energy efficiency.

The Market Transformation through Introduction of Energy Efficient Electric Tricycle (E-trike) Project will reduce fuel consumption of tricycles by 2.8 percent, equivalent to 560,926 oil barrels, NEDA said in a statement Monday.

“The project will distribute 100,000 E-trikes to tricycle operators on a lease-to-own arrangement, replacing their old gas-fed and two-stroke gasoline engine units. This way, we are also able to protect our environment,” according to NEDA, citing Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and NEDA board vice chair Cayetano W. Paderanga Jr.

“The electric tricycle is a specially designed, highly efficient tricycle that runs on a motor powered by a battery charged by electricity. E-trikes produce no noise, no tailpipe emissions, and represent an opportunity to make public transportation in the Philippines more environmentally conscious while improving the livelihood of tricycle drivers across the country,” reads the project description on the website of Asian Development Bank, which is financing part of the project through a P12.9-billion loan.

The project was proposed by the Department of Energy (DOE).

Additional financing will come from the Clean Technology Fund (P4.3 billion loan and P43 million grant), Clean Development Mechanism facility (P860 million), Philippine government counterpart funding (P3.397 billion).

Early this month, the DOE selected 10 winners in a nationwide contest for the best E-trike design on a theme of “Bright Now! Do Right, Be Bright.”

According to the DOE, the design is optimized to ensure structural integrity.

ADB explained that the project gives tricycle drivers the opportunity to lease or lease-to-own the E-trikes by paying less than 200 pesos a day, which translates to a higher take-home income.

“For example, a conventional tricycle needs between 5 and 7 liters of gasoline to travel approximately 100 kms, costing P250 to P350. To travel the same 100 kms, an E-trike will use between 3 kWh and 5 kWh of electricity, costing only P30 to P50. The 200 peso difference in fuel savings will help the driver pay for the cost of the E-trike,” ADB added.

The pilot project was launched in April 2011, with 20 E-trikes deployed in Mandaluyong City. The E-trikes use two different types of lithium ion battery technology—the 3 kWh and 6 kWh battery packs.

Models with the  3 kWh battery pack can run as far as 50 km on a single charge, and can be recharged to 80 percent in under 30 minutes at fast charging stations. Models using the 6 kWh battery pack can go up to 100km on a single overnight charge.

Sen. Edgardo Angara, who heads the Congressional Commission on Science, and Technology, and Engineering, lauded the E-trike project, saying the use of e-vehicles could lower air pollution levels and lessen the dependence on oil.

“Once thousands of E-trikes begin to be manufactured, many new jobs could be created. Working together, we can give Manila cleaner air, bluer skies, and a more livable environment,” Kunio Senga, director-general of ADB’s Southeast Asia Department, said in an earlier report.

The Quezon City government is preparing pilot test the E-trikes. According to a news release, the city has conducted an Eco-Driving Training for Quezon City Tricycle Operators and Drivers Associations (QC-TODA).

Discussed was the impact of good driving behavior, proper engine maintenance for lesser emissions and reduced maintenance cost as well as increased fuel saving for the current conventional tricycles operating in the city.

QC will be given 22,000 E-trikes over five years—the largest allocation among LGUs in Metro Manila—2,000 this year and 5,000 every other 4 years.

“The project is expected to complement the city government’s continuing effort to mitigate the ill effects of pollution on public health and safety. This would also pave the way for the gradual phase-out of conventional tricycles now plying city roads,” according to a statement by the Quezon City government.

Under Phase I of the project, 20,000 E-trikes will be distributed to operators in Metro Manila, Boracay, Puerto Princesa City, Cabanatuan City, and Davao City from 2012 to 2013.

Eighty thousand units will be distributed to operators in municipalities and cities that are still to be determined under Phase II (2013 to 2016).

NEDA said the project aims to promote, establish and develop electric-vehicle support industries such as battery leasing, recycling and disposal, and motor supply chain and charging stations.

But the Electric Vehicle Alliance and the Partnership for Clean Air are questioning the project, saying its funds were reallocated from the renewable energy industry—originally stipulated in the Clean Technology Fund.

Greenpeace is also not happy with the project.

“Why are we rushing this project?” asked Greenpeace Southeast Asia campaigner Francis Dela Cruz.

While E-trikes are not bad in terms of technology, Dela Cruz said
they are not necessarily good for the environment. “Hindi siya magiging source ng mobile pollution, but because you use power outlets to charge, you are just shifting to a stationary source of pollution—the fossil fuel-fired power plants,” he said.

In addition, the project-mechanism that involves LGUs as lenders make the project seem dubious to Greenpeace.

“Kaya bang magpautang at maningil? Baka magpapautang tapos hindi maniningil, ang magbabayad ang taong bayan,” Dela Cruz said, noting this will be unfair to taxpayers who don’t benefit from the project but may end up having to indirectly pay for it. — VS, GMA News

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