BAGUIO CITY – The highly publicized possible use of e-jeepneys and e-cars in the city and other major urban centers in the Cordillera suffered a setback following the declaration of manufacturers and experts that such type of jeepneys and cars may not be able to operate at all in the region because of its unique road topography.
Jose Bienvenido Manual Biona, Executive Director of the Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (EVAP), pointed out that e-jeepneys and e-cars for the region should have much stronger power compared to the conventional electric vehicles being pilot-tested in the city and other urban areas in the region.
Biona, during a recent summit held in the city, claimed that while new incentives are being provided by the government to the electric car industry, the same is being popularized as one of the major alternatives to gasoline-fed vehicles to combat the serious negative impact of climate change and of the unstable fuel prices in the world market.
He pointed out that e-jeepneys and e-car will not actually work in the city but there needs to be modification that should be introduced by the manufacturers that might make electric vehicles no longer affordable to public utility operators and drivers.
At present, the present electric vehicles do not have the required 40-kilowatt to 50-kilowatt battery power to be able to navigate steep roads which are mostly located in various parts of the city due to its mountainous terrain.
Further, e-jeeps also need around 36-kilowatt hour battery size or type and with higher power and higher density to be able to traverse the terrain as these are not found in the available electric vehicles in the market.
Biona, a mechanical engineering professor of the De La Salle University, admitted having driven through 3 routes in the city recently and recorded engine stresses and long travel duration which are endured by the traditional jeepneys travelling the same routes daily.
According to him, e-jeepneys should be outfitted appropriately for mountain road stresses so that electric mass transport could be adopted in the entire region in the future.
Initially, an e-jeepney costs around P2 million but operators need up to more than P3 million to include the appropriate modifications that will make electric vehicles suitable for mountain road use.
He suggested that the public utility vehicle modernization program of the Department of Transportation (DOTR) could be tapped by the concerned sector to facilitate loans and other funds for the purchase of a fleet of e-jeepneys and for the possible modification of the e-jeepneys to be make them suitable for the peculiar terrain of the city.
Time and again, e-jeepneys and e-cars had been pilot tested along major routes in the city over the past several months but these had not evidently been feasible during the conduct of the tests.
Electric vehicles had been proposed as an alternative to the use of traditional jeepneys to help in improving the current state of the environment by reducing pollutants in the city’s air.