Electric vehicles become popular in the Philippines

philippine-e-vehiclesThe Philippines is leading the way on use of electric vehicles, and is positioned to become a huge market for that industry.

Last year, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) partnered with the Philippines Department of Energy to fund a pilot-programme that put numerous electric tricycle taxis on the streets of Manila. The programme has been a success, and is now on the verge of expansion.

Manila is the most densely populated city in the world, and motorised bicycle and tricycle taxis have long been a common form of transportation there. The problem is, not only do these vehicles contribute heavily to Manila’s poor air quality, they cost a great deal for drivers to operate as gasoline is not cheap in the Philippines. Electric tricycle taxis, on the other hand, cost more to purchase up front but end up saving drivers a substantial amount of money over the life of the vehicle, as charging their batteries costs a fraction of the price of gasoline for an equivalent amount of power.

The electric taxi programme has been a hit with drivers, passengers and public officials, and is about the get a big boost. With loans from the ADB, the Philippines is planning to invest $500 million by 2017 to replace around 100,000 of the 3.5 million gasoline-powered tricycles in the country with electric tricycles. This could merely be the next step in gradually phasing out gas-powered taxis entirely.

The Philippine government will soon be accepting bids from businesses worldwide to implement this electric tricycle taxi expansion. According to Japan News, at least ten companies are expected to participate in the bidding, including several from Japan.

Here is a video from the ADB explaining the programme:

 

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Arno Maierbrugger

Business journalist

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