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December 3, 2008

Philippines: China tie-up to add more ubiquitous jeepneys

More electric jeepneys and tricycles will soon be plying the streets of Metro Manila and select local government units (LGUs) after the PhUV Inc. successfully pilot-tested the vehicles and continued to receive various inquiries and orders, reported national news agency PNA.

The PhUV Inc. is the business arm of the Motor Vehicle Parts Manufacturers Association of the Philippines (MVPMAP) and was part of the business delegation during the recent China visit of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

PhUV Inc. president Ferdinand Raquelsantos said that contrary to popular notion, the electric vehicle technology is not new at all.

"It is, in fact, a tested vehicle in some parts of the globe and is very popular in China, one of the more advanced countries in terms of electric vehicle development. The e-jeepney base model that they supply to us can seat 14 persons, climb elevations of up to 20 percent grade and withstand flooded streets of up to one foot. This is a performance that I believe is at par with that of a regular PUJ," he says.

He, however, says that since this technology is new to the Philippines, it will take some time to educate and shift the paradigm of the public and the jeepney drivers about electric vehicles.

"And, as with any pioneering visionary idea, not everyone buys right away. But we are willing to take this one e-jeepney, one e-trike at a time", Raquelsantos said.

"These e-jeepneys are not intended to replace the current PUJs plying the major thoroughfares of Metro Manila and major cities. In fact, the LGU beneficiaries and end users will run them only on either short, closed loops or experimental routes not currently serviced by the PUJs. The truth is our orders and inquiries so far are for large school campuses, resorts, golf and country clubs, villages, farm lands, theme parks, malls and even for mobile ads purposes. But we will prioritize the LGUs as we want to also disperse the technology to the countryside as well," Raquelsantos added.

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