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Aquino admin gives ADB-funded electric vehicles to Mandaluyong

April 13, 2011 4:10pm
The Mandaluyong government received at least 20 electric tricycles or e-trikes from President Benigno Aquino III, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said Wednesday.

The Manila-based bank said in a statement that it funded the e-trike project in support of "sustainable, energy efficient transport model" in the Philippines.

Since he assumed the presidency on June 30 last year, Aquino has been pushing for the development of alternative sources of energy such as hydropower, geothermal, biomass, and wind.

According to the multilateral bank, emissions from the transport sector represent 30 percent of all pollution in the country and around 80 percent of air pollution in Metro Manila.

"A sizeable proportion of vehicle emissions are attributable to inefficient public transport, particularly from tricycles, jeepneys, and buses," the ADB said.

Green transportation alternatives

At present, the multilateral bank said it is discussing with the Aquino administration and other possible development partners to scale up the rollout of energy efficient e-trikes in Metro Manila and other urban areas as early as 2012.

"The Philippines is assuming a leading role in Asia in supporting green transportation alternatives… If e-trikes are followed by new fleets of electric buses and jeepneys, the effect could be transformative," said Kunio Senga, director general of ADB’s Southeast Asia Department.

Annually, over 3.5 million motorized tricycles are operating in the Philippines, using nearly $5 billion of imported fuel and 10 million tons of carbon dioxide, the ADB said.

Motorized tricycles — which are motorcycles with sidecars — are popularly used as low-cost public transport for short distances.

"Every 20,000 e-trikes that are introduced to Manila’s streets will save the Philippines 100,000 liters of foreign fuel imports each day, saving the country about $35 million annually," said Sohail Hasnie, ADB’s principal energy specialist.

"This initiative not only benefits the environment, but it also supports the Philippines drive to become more energy independent," Hasnie also said.

New jobs created

The ADB pointed out that though e-trikes have higher up-front costs, older sorts of tricycles are more than twice as expensive to operate and maintain in the end.

"The cost savings will directly increase the incomes of e-trike operators," the bank said.

The ADB-supported e-trikes use lithium ion batteries, commonly used in laptop computers and mobile phones, the bank said.

"The batteries can be recharged approximately 2,000 times, in contrast to lead acid batteries used in older e-trike models that need to be replaced every two years," the ADB explained.

The multilateral bank said that once thousand of e-trikes begin to be manufactured, "many new jobs could be created."

"Factoring in electricity required for charging the batteries, the e-trikes’ carbon footprint will be less than one quarter of petroleum-fueled tricycles’ carbon dioxide emissions," it said.

As part of the e-trike project, the ADB said it will install four charging stations in Mandaluyong City, which will be able to charge the e-trike batteries to 50 percent capacity in less than 30 minutes.

One of the charging stations will use solar energy, the bank also said. — RSJ, GMA News
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