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January 28, 2008

Auto parts makers to produce Pinoy electric jeepney

The Motor Vehicle Parts Manufacturers Association of the Philippines, Inc. (MVPMAP) comprising local auto parts makers on Thursday said they will be locally designing, developing and manufacturing 44 units of electric jeepney.

These electric jeepneys will be distributed to selected cities identified by the Green Renewable Independent Power Producer, Inc. (GRIPP).

Chosen as pilot areas for the program are Bacolod City, which has received four units of the electric jeepney for pilot testing and Makati City with two electric jeepneys.

MVPMAP and its Filipino engineers will design, develop and produce the local version of the electric jeepney under its Philippine Utility Vehicle (PhUV) Program and will call it the 'e-PhUV'.

Unlike the initial six China versions which were just bigger and modified versions of a golf cart, the local e-PhUV will be a replica of a real PUJ as the Pinoy icon that Filipinos are familiar with.

MVPMAP has decided to make the electric jeepney as part of its PhUV Program since it is already included in the 2007 Investments Priority Program (IPP) of the Board of Investments.

This will qualify all assemblers and local parts suppliers participating in the PhUV program to various incentives such as income tax holiday and duty free importations of raw materials and capital equipment.

Whatever parts and components for the e-PhUV that cannot be produced locally will be imported while MVPMAP members will supply the local parts to complete the e-PhUV.

MVPMAP expects to present the prototype to GRIPP by the end of February 2008. Mass production will then commence after the prototype is tested and approved.

Outside of the initial 44 units ordered by GRIPP, MVPMAP is also targeting sales of the e-PhUV to entities which have shown early interest in the vehicle.

Among these are other local government units not part of GRIPP's Climate Friendly Cities Program, homeowners' associations of exclusive villages, resorts, schools, industrial zones, theme parks, golf courses, malls and even federations of jeepney operators and drivers.

They are attracted by the relatively low operating cost of an e-PhUV compared to a conventional diesel or gasoline powered jeepney.

It can be charged overnight for eight to 10 hours at a cost of approximately P200 (US$4.87) using an ordinary wall outlet.

It can then be operated for as much as 100 kilometres thereafter, thus costing only about P2 per km. to operate. This is about half the operating cost of a diesel or gasoline powered jeepney.

Under GRIPP's Climate Friendly Cities Program, the e-PhUV will just be one of its three major components. In fact, it will just be a beneficiary of the product of the two other major components.

These two are a small power plant which is a biodigester using biological wastes from nearby households and commercial establishments and a depot to serve as the charging station and terminal for the e-PhUV units.

To supply fuel to the biodigester, it will become imperative for Local Government Units to implement the Waste Segregation Program as mandated by law, so that the biodegradable wastes can be converted into electric power at the e-PhUV depot.

Thus, only the non-biodegradable wastes will be sent to the dump site.

The entire Climate Friendly Cities Program will therefore complement the Waste Segregation Program of the government, convert biodegradable household wastes into electric power, then use this electric power to charge and operate smoke-free electric jeepneys to provide transport in an environment-friendly public transport system and help save the environment.

GRIPP is a partnership spearheaded by Greenpeace International organized in pursuit of its Climate Friendly Cities Program.

It includes MVPMAP and is funded by a Dutch NGO, the DOEN Foundation, which will fund 50 units of the emission-free electric jeepneys for the program.

Courtesy PNA

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