MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday handed over 20 electric tricycles (e-trikes) to the City of Mandaluyong.
The 20 e-trikes are part of an Asian Development Bank (ADB)-funded project to introduce energy-efficient transportation alternatives in the country.
The ADB is currently in discussions with the government and other groups on a proposed project to increase the rollout of energy efficient e-trikes in Manila and other urban areas by next year.
Emissions from the transport sector currently represent 30% of all pollution in the country, and approximately 80% of air pollution in Metro Manila, the bank said in a press statement.
A sizeable proportion of vehicle emissions are attributable to inefficient public transport, particularly from tricycles, jeepneys, and buses, it added.
"Working together, we can give Manila cleaner air, bluer skies, and a more livable environment," said Kunio Senga, director general of ADB's Southeast Asia Department. "The Philippines is assuming a leading role in Asia in supporting green transportation alternatives, and if e-trikes are followed by new fleets of electric buses and jeepneys, the effect could be transformative."
The ADB estimates that over 3.5 million motorized tricycles are currently operating in the Philippines, producing more than 10 million tons of carbon dioxide and using close to US $5 billion of imported fuel each year.
Tricycles are used across the country 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 ADB principal energy specialist Sohail Hasnie. "This initiative not only benefits the environment, but it also supports the Philippines drive to become more energy independent."
Although it costs more to buy the new e-trikes, older gasoline-powered tricycles are more than twice as expensive to operate and maintain in the long run, according to the ADB. “The cost savings will directly increase the incomes of e-trike operators.”
The e-trikes use lithium ion batteries, commonly used in laptop computers and mobile phones. 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 2 years.
A recently concluded phase-one ADB pilot project demonstrated that the Philippines has the local manufacturing capacity and technical skills base to build and maintain a large e-trike fleet.
“Once thousands of e-trikes begin to be manufactured, many new jobs could be created,” the ADB said,
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 added.
As part of the pilot project, ADB will install 4 charging stations in Mandaluyong City that will be able to charge the e-trike batteries to 50% capacity in less than 30 minutes.
One of the charging stations will use solar energy.