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Electric vehicle models at the 5th Electric Vehicle Summit – Part 1

The 5th Electric Vehicle Summit was held last April 14-15, 2016 at the Meralco Multi-Purpose Hall. Following are photos I took at the summit where many current electric vehicle models were on display and demonstration. Many of the photos show variants of the electric tricycle designs from various manufacturers that conform with the design promoted by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). These are basically in the form of the Thai tuktuk and similar to Cagayan De Oro’s motorella.

IMG_1310Go Electric e-trike by ToJo Motors

IMG_1311E-trike model by Clean Air Transport Solutions, Inc.

IMG_1314BEMAC e-trike model – the company recently landed a big contract to produce e-trikes.

IMG_1315E-trike by Kyto Green Technologies Co., Ltd.

IMG_1316Electric car (4-wheeler) by PhUV powered by Trojan batteries

IMG_1317E-trike model by Green Mobility Service

IMG_1318PhUV’s e-trike variants

IMG_1319E-trike and charging station by KEA

IMG_1320Exhibitors setting up their booths and electric vehicles

IMG_1321Conventional vehicle converted into electric by Le Guider International

IMG_1322E-trikes by Guider Power

IMG_1323Another look at PhUV’s e-trikes 

IMG_1324Electric motorcycles by Alternative Energy Trailblazer, Inc.

IMG_1325E-trike by Roteco

IMG_1326SunE-trike and Roteco booths at the summit exhibition area

IMG_1328Sporty electric motorcycle model by Talino EV – this can be paired with a sidecar to serve as an e-trike.

IMG_1329The ToJo Motors booth

IMG_1330Electric vehicles powered by solar energy by Star8

IMG_1331E-vehicle models by Clean Air Transport Solutions, Inc.

IMG_1332Latest model e-jeepney by PhUV featuring side door and a higher ceiling

To be continued…

On e-trikes again

I saw this electric tricycle while traveling along Marcos Highway in Antipolo City. There are already a number of e-trikes operating in many cities around the country including several in Metro Manila but this one seems to be the inferior to the designs I have features in previous articles in this site (Note: Refer to the post on Vehicles at the 3rd Electric Vehicle Summit for a sampling of e-trike designs). Those designs were mostly inspired by the Asian Development Bank (ADB)’s concept electric tricycle design for their project that sought to replace conventional tricycles with electric ones.

IMG_0824Antipolo e-trike along Marcos Highway

This e-trike appears to be a clumsy design and I have questions regarding its stability and operating characteristics, which have implications on road safety. Note that the e-trike in the photo above is not registered. Otherwise, it should bear an orange plate from the Land Transportation Office (LTO), which incidentally classifies e-vehicles as low-speed vehicles. This classification basically restricts most e-vehicles from traveling along national roads such as Marcos Highway. Did Antipolo secure an exception or exemption for these vehicles? Are traffic law enforcement personnel turning blind eye to the operation of these vehicles along busy highways like Marcos Highway and Sumulong Highway? How safe are these vehicle designs?

Local papers presented at the EASTS 2015 conference – Mapua Institute of Technology

Mapua Institute of Technology (MIT) has a relatively young program under its School of Civil Engineering. This is led by their Dean, Dr Francis Aldrine Uy, who is also active with the Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers (PICE). Mapua has been aggressive the recent years in presenting and publishing papers in transportation engineering and planning. Following are the papers from the MIT:

  1. Integrated Non-Motorized Transportation System For A Sustainability Oriented Intramuros [Francis Aldrine Uy]
  2. A Study on the Effectiveness of Eco-Mobility Component: E-Jeepneys in Makati City [Francis Aldrine Uy]
  3. Comparative Study of the Effects of Fuel Sources (Diesel, Gasoline and Autogas) in Public Transportation in Metro Manila on Price, Emission and Health Issues [Francis Aldrine Uy]
  4. Determinants of Demands of Pasig River Ferry Service [Francis Aldrine Uy]
  5. Determination of Cost Impact using Mathematical Model Comprising City Logistics to Quick Service Restaurants in Metro Manila [Francis Aldrine Uy]
  6. Development of Evacuation Plan by Utilizing Transportation Modeling in the City of Borongan, Eastern Samar [Riches Bacero]
  7. Operational Performance Analysis of Median U-Turn Intersections as Traffic Control Facility in EDSA [Riches Bacero]
  8. Community Perception on Trans-operability of Intramuros [Riches Bacero]
  9. Paradigm Shift Strategy of Inclusive Mobility: The Applicability of Bus Rapid Transit along Commonwealth Avenue [Riches Bacero]
  10. Evaluation of Strontium Aluminate in Traffic Paint Pavement Marking for Rural and Unilluminated Roads [Riches Bacero]
  11. Study on the Impact of the Construction Activity of Skyway Stage 3 on Traffic Conditions along Osmeña Highway and San Andres Street [Geoffrey Cueto]
  12. A Design for Silver Star Integrated Green Bus Terminal [Geoffrey Cueto]
  13. Proposed Diversion Road to Improve Traffic Movement of Commercially Developed Areas in Bacoor, Cavite [Geoffrey Cueto]
  14. Establishing the City Logistic Concept in Improving the Freight Distribution in Metro Manila [Geoffrey Cueto]
  15. An Analysis on the Accessibility Level of Public Transit for Persons with Disability: In care of Light Rail Transit (LRT 1) [Geoffrey Cueto]
  16. Design and Development of the Puerto Princesa Airport Passenger Terminal [Jocelyn Buluran]
  17. Design and Development of Passenger Terminal at Batangas Port [Jocelyn Buluran]
  18. Design and Development of Passenger Terminal Extension of Clark International Airport [Jocelyn Buluran]
  19. Determinants of “Travel with Dignity” of Passengers of MRT3 [Jocelyn Buluran]
  20. Integrating Sustainable Non – Motorized Public Transport in the City of Manila, Philippines Through Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) [Jocelyn Buluran]

My only comment about certain papers in the list is that many do not seem to be research papers and definitely more on the practice (i.e., design) side than the academic. I can say this based on the presentations made that I was able to attend as well as the papers themselves in the proceedings of the conference that I was able to browse. Still, Mapua has very good potential to come up with good papers from the prolific Dr Uy and his young faculty members led by Engr. Riches Bacero.

The current President of Mapua, Dr Reynaldo Vea, is also the current President of the Transportation Science Society of the Philippines (TSSP). Dr Vea was formerly Dean of UP Diliman’s College of Engineering and Officer-in-charge of UP’s National Center for Transportation Studies (NCTS). His specialty is on maritime transport as he has a degree in naval architecture.

 

 

EASTS 2015 – Cebu City, September 11-13, 2015

The 11th International Conference of the Eastern Asia Society for Transportation Studies (EASTS 2015) will be held in Cebu City this September 11-13, 2015. For information on the conference and program, check out their website here:

http://www.easts2015.com/

You can also download a brochure about EASTS here:

EASTS brochure2014-2015a

The conference is hosted by the Transportation Science Society of the Philippines (TSSP), which is the local affiliate of the EASTS. More information on the TSSP are found below:

TSSP brochure_inside TSSP brochure_cover-back

Future of jeepneys?

I spotted a jeepney on my way home with a message (or tagline, depending on how you see it) printed on its side. It says BEEP, which was supposed to stand for Bagong Jeep (translated as New Jeep). From the looks of the vehicle, there was nothing new about it, except maybe this sign that was painted over an older design on the vehicle’s body. Apparently, the tagline does not refer to the vehicle itself but to the image of the jeepney. “Bago” or “New” here refers to a new image for jeepneys. Long regarded as the “King of the Road,” the jeepneys have become synonymous to reckless driving, uncomfortable rides and unreliable services. They have also come to represent unsustainable transport what with most jeepneys being fuel guzzlers and smoke belchers.

2015-06-27 08.57.23I already spotted several jeepneys plying the Cogeo-Cubao route sporting this sign that’s apparently a campaign to uplift the image of jeepneys. It seems really a stretch to call these ‘bago’ as the vehicles I’ve seen are the same customized bodies with second hand engines running them.

There is a campaign to rehabilitate the image of the jeepneys and perhaps it should start with driver behavior and not necessarily the vehicle. Many jeepney drivers (as well as drivers of other public utility vehicles) have attitudes leaning on the rude side. You see many of them driving recklessly along our roads and stopping just about anywhere (e.g., in the middle of the road). Such behaviour is due to many factors including the way these people learned to drive and their motivations for their means of earning a living. Much can also be said about their education both formal and regarding their driving.

There are also many vehicles vying to be the replacement for the jeepneys and among these are electric vehicles including the electric jitneys that I have featured in past articles on this blog. Incidentally, one of those electric jitneys is actually a more recent model of the electric jeepneys that’re currently in operation in Makati and Alabang, and it happens to be called the Beep. Operating in Filinvest City, the e-jeepneys there have been lauded as a viable option for replacing the conventional jeepneys. So far, so good and time will tell if indeed, conventional jeepneys will be phased out in favor of e-jeepneys. The jury is still out there in terms of the e-jeepney’s reliability and durability.

2015-07-03 05.59.42An electric tricycle currently undergoing experimental operations at the University of the Philippines Diliman campus is more a replacement for tricycles and multicabs than for jeepneys.

Resistance is futile? The case against electric jeepneys

There is a strong sentiment against electric jeepneys along the route where the COMET is currently operating. This opposition has always been there even before the COMET came about. I would like to think that this is partly due to the perception among many operators and drivers that conventional jeepneys would be phased out and replaced by e-jeepneys. But then isn’t this replacement supposed to be an upgrade in terms of having a more energy efficient and therefore economical vehicle that had a significant bonus of being low emission as well.

I finally got a photo of the sign Katipunan jeepney operators and drivers put up at the terminal below the Aurora Blvd. flyover.

IMG10352-20150322-1704Protest against electric jeepneys written on Manila paper and posted on overpass column at the Katipunan jeepney terminal

Given the recent innovations and the rapid advances in electric and other fuel vehicles, it should come as no surprise that more reliable and more efficient models of these vehicles will be available in the market. In the case of the Philippines where the thrust for e-vehicles is focused on public transport, there will eventually be a model that will comprehensively beat conventional jeepneys in every aspect. That is, if there is not yet a model that good. Arguably, the COMET and the latest e-jeepney model (BEEP) are already better than conventional jeepneys. However, their acceptability is pending with operators and drivers who seem uninterested with the case against conventional jeepneys. Perhaps these people are being fed false information by another party? Hopefully, they will open their eyes and mind to the reality that will eventually catch up with them if they do not embrace change.

Future jeepney: COMET

Another vehicle being considered for the study on the comparison of customised vehicles being used for public transport is the COMET (City Optimised Managed Electric Transport). This is a 20-seater vehicle that we have written about in previous posts and was touted by its makers and supporters as the best and most suitable replacement for the conventional jeepney. Unlike the BEEP that was featured in the previous post, it is currently operating along a route with trip ends at North Avenue and Aurora Boulevard via Mindanao Avenue, Congressional Avenue, Luzon Avenue and Katipunan Avenue. This route overlaps in operation with established jeepney routes in those areas and thus competes directly with these jeepneys.

spec sheet COMET

Notice that both the COMET and the BEEP have seating capacities of 20 passengers (except the driver). However, the COMET is the larger vehicle as it is both wider, longer and higher than the BEEP. In fact, a passenger can stand inside the COMET without having to bow his/her head so as not to bump against the ceiling. Perhaps the more significant difference with current operations is that COMET drivers have been trained to drive more responsibly (i.e., less aggressively) than the typical jeepney driver. So far they do not weave in traffic and stop only at designated points along their route. Future jeepneys should have drivers like these but they should also be compensated according to the requirements of their jobs as drivers. Such compensation schemes are among the biggest factors for the way jeepney drivers behave in traffic. Technology-wise, current and subsequent developments in motors, batteries and other components of the vehicle itself should make electric and other environment-friendly vehicles more attractive as replacements (successors?) to jeepneys.

Future jeepney: BEEP

The National Center for Transportation Studies (NCTS) of the University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD) is part of the Phase II of a research comparing the performances of customized local road vehicles (CLRV) for use in public transport. This project is being conducted together with the Vehicle Research and Testing Laboratory (VRTL) of UPD’s Department of Mechanical Engineering (DME), Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute (EEEI) and the National Engineering Center (NEC) with funding from the Department of Energy (DOE). Phase II considers a longer route for the comparison of vehicles. In the previous Phase I, the route was UP Diliman-North EDSA while in this phase, the route will be Lagro-Cubao, which is significantly longer in distance compared to the previous study route.

Here are the specs for the BEEP, which features some significant design changes from the earlier versions of the e-jeepney:

21-seaters spec-BEEPIt is worth noting the following for the BEEP:

1. The door is already located on the side of the vehicle instead of at the back.

2. The motor is rated at 30kW, a significant upgrade from the 15- and 20kW motors in previous e-jeepneys.

3. The seating capacity is for 20 passengers (excluding the driver) by about 2 to 4 people from previous e-jeepney models.

These are the most obvious changes in the BEEP and would be factors that could affect its performance and acceptability. Most jeepneys these days are “siyaman” meaning they seat 9 passengers on each of the bench seats plus 2 on the front seat for a total of 20 passengers. Also, jeepneys should be able to negotiate steeper slopes that have been among the problems for e-jeepneys. Not mentioned are the specs of the batteries and the charging time although the range claimed for a full charge is 85 km. This study will hopefully validate these claims and show us if the BEEP will be up to the challenge of replacing the conventional jeepneys on long routes.

Bullish about electric vehicles in the Philippines

We were invited to the opening of an electric vehicle assembly plant in Cavite recently. BEMAC Electric Transportation Philippines, Inc. formally opened their plant last February 11 at the Almazora compound at the Golden Mile Business Park in Carmona, Cavite. We were very impressed at the plant and learned that BEMAC is partnering with Almazora, a local company specialised and experienced in vehicle body assembly. I am sharing photos I took of the plant so readers can have an appreciation of what an assembly plant looks like.

2015-02-11 15.07.56BEMAC’s e-tricycle model, the 68VM, has a comfortable seating capacity for 6 passengers at the back with the driver the sole occupant of the front seat.

2015-02-11 15.10.09Batteries by Toshiba Japan

2015-02-11 15.10.54E-trike body parts

2015-02-11 15.11.20More parts

2015-02-11 15.11.33Assembly area for the drives

2015-02-11 15.11.53Axles stacked and waiting for assembly

2015-02-11 15.12.33A closer look at the drive assembly

2015-02-11 15.13.24Assembly line showing e-trikes in various stages of assembly

2015-02-11 15.13.32Another look at the assembly line

2015-02-11 15.14.06Assembly line showing the chassis of the e-trike and the body being assembled.

2015-02-11 15.15.48A view of the assembly line from the rear2015-02-11 16.29.11E-vehicle intended for goods transport

2015-02-11 16.50.21A closer look at the initial stages of assembly showing the e-trike chassis and body frame

2015-02-11 15.51.52A slide in BEMAC’s presentation shows its 68VM

BEMAC’s e-trike model is the best we’ve seen so far among e-trike models in the Philippines. It is supposed to have been tested under various conditions except actual (or simulated) operations that are closer to real-world conditions (i.e., operation as conventional tricycles in the country). It is claimed to be capable of running at a top speed of 80 kph and its motor can power the vehicle up steep slopes, which is a typical feature in many municipalities and cities in the Philippines. Details for BEMAC Philippines may be found in their website.

There will be an Electric Vehicle Summit on February 26-27, 2015. The 4th Philippine EV Summit will again be held at the Meralco Multi-Purpose Hall in Ortigas, Pasig City. The two-day summit organised by the Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (EVAP) in partnership with Meralco and the Partnership for Clean Air (PCA) will feature an exhibit on the current electric vehicle models available in the Philippines, which I think is among if not the main highlight of the summit. There will also be several talks and panel discussions on e-vehicles including those on technology/R&D, industry, incentives and green communities. The program also mentions a lot about sustainable mobility, a term prolifically used by advocacy groups but not really one I’d attribute to e-vehicle proponents (One colleague made the observation before that not everyone is really into e-vehicles because of its environmental aspects.). I’m not sure all the top officials they invited will show up or give good talks. Past summits had good potentials as venues for serious discussions that could have led to fruitful outcomes. However, it seems that they fell short of these objectives and ended up with boring talks that to me often were reduced to lip service from government agencies especially on topics like incentives that will pave the way for the turning point for e-vehicles.

Hopefully, this year’s talks would be more interesting and engaging considering the plenary set-up where people farther from the front tend to have meetings and discussions of their own. E-vehicles have a great potential in improving air quality in a country like the Philippines. There is also the promise of less noise and, more important to many especially operators and drivers, better revenues than translate to increased incomes to those dependent on it for their livelihood. We look forward especially to the transformation of the tricycle sector from the current conventional trikes to the more modern and environment-friendly models such as those by BEMAC.

Comet – rare sightings

A colleague was saying that he has not seen the Comet, a jitney-type vehicle currently plying the SM North – Katipunan route via Mindanao Avenue and Commonwealth Avenue, for quite some time. I shared the same observation and this is based on my regular commute that includes travel along Katipunan Avenue. The Comet is becoming, if it is not yet, a rare sighting even considering its relatively long and apparently convenient route. The route passes through residential and commercial areas and would be a direct, single ride for students in particular of three major schools in the Katipunan area – UP, Ateneo and Miriam. It also connects to 2 large malls, SM North and Trinoma, and 2 rail stations, LRT 2 Katipunan Sta. and MRT 3 North EDSA Sta. Despite these traffic generators along its route, it seems that the Comet still has less than the desired ridership. I say ‘seems’ because I currently don’t have the hard statistics on ridership but only observations from those who have seen the vehicle along its route.

IMG10028-20150114-1924I saw this one on my way home last December in heavy traffic as our jeepney approached the Katipunan – C.P. Garcia intersection. It had few passengers considering its long route from SM North EDSA to Aurora Boulevard via Katipunan Ave.

IMG10050-20150122-0821An almost empty Comet spotted one morning this January along Katipunan

What is the future for the Comet? It is unclear so far despite the hype and claims that this is supposed to be the vehicle to replace the conventional jeepney. (To be fair, this is what was also said of the e-jeepney that precluded the Comet.) The DOTC does not have a clear and firm policy or commitment to making this work. Its pronouncements have so far been towards deploying the Comet along new routes instead of replacing existing jeepneys on existing routes with this low emission vehicle. I believe that the only way for the Comet to work is for it to be mainstreamed as a replacement for the jeepney and along suitable routes, of course. The DOTC could and should review jeepney franchises to determine how the Comet and other similar low emission vehicles can be phased in over a realistic period in order to modernize public transportation currently being supplied by conventional jeepneys.

I recently noticed that there are jeepneys along Katipunan bearing tarps on their sides stating “No to additional jeepneys.” Underneath are the names of three jeepney groups supporting this call but with the exception of a major jeepney group that’s supposed to be supportive (even owning several units) of the Comet. Are the signs a form of resistance to change? Do the groups know or understand what they are saying and what they stand for? Or are these indicative of disagreements among jeepney groups, operators and drivers regarding the future of their operations using conventional jeepneys?

There will surely be resistance from these sectors if there are changes to be made that will affect their sources of income. It is a very daunting and sensitive task to decouple transport and livelihood in the Philippines. However, the issues coming out of such changes to improve public transport services should be met head on rather than skirt them, particularly in the case of the agencies responsible for these services – the DOTC and the LTFRB. Only then can we have the transformation we need for road-based public transport in this country.