Businessman Endika Aboitiz teamed up with Spanish investor Enrique Bañuelos to reinvent the old ‘jeepney’ and transform it into a green, electric vehicle.
QEV Philippines Electromobility Solutions and Consulting Group Inc., the joint venture between Aboitiz and Bañuelos, proposes to convert an initial 50,000 jeepneys over five years, or 10,000 per year, by replacing their diesel engines with lithium-ion batteries.
QEV Philippines, the Philippine unit of Singapore-based electromobility holding firm QEV Capital Pte. Ltd., also seeks the help of the government to shoulder the cost of electric kit of around P600,000 per unit.
“The jeepney is as much Filipino as all of you. It is like London’s double-decker bus. It in itself is a moving museum. Taking the jeepney away is taking away a piece of our colorful history, an icon that many have come to associate with the Philippines. We can preserve the jeepney and modernize it without taking away its charm,” Aboitiz said during the launching of the green jeepney in Taguig City.
When Bañuelos, QEV’s principal investor first laid eyes on the jeepney, it was love at first sight. In his resolve, he had a Sarao jeepney sent to Spain for extensive research and development, so they could study how it could be converted from an internal combustion engine into electric. After more months of local research, a team of Spanish engineers then flew to the Philippines to start work on the conversion. Today, that jeepney is now a green jeepney, having zero-carbon emissions and running 100 percent on electricity.
The green jeepney made its debut on July 20 at Shangri-La at The Fort, Bonifacio Global City.
The cost of electricity is far less than the cost of fuel. In effect, the take home pay of the jeepney drivers would improve since they would have more earnings. Charging of lithium ion batteries for 15 minutes costs 30 percent less than the average liter of diesel. This will enable the green jeepney to run for 100 to 140 kilometers. Compared to the high cost of diesel that can fetch as high as P31/ liter for the same distance.
The charging stations for the green jeepneys will soon be made widely available. QEV Philippines has as its technological partner, ABB (Asea Brown Boveri), which produces universal charging stations that will be installed all over the city.
The company said that once the proposal was adopted, electrification/reconversion would be undertaken by QEV Philippines affiliate QEV Technologies and local jeepney manufacturers such as Sarao Motors in four local facilities.
Charging stations—to be powered by Aboitiz Power’s Corp. clean and renewable energy brand “Cleanergy” whose network will be initially formed with the help of Manila Electric Co., Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp., Ayala Corp. and SM Group.
With virtually no emissions, QEV Philippines said its green jeepneys are expected to sequester an estimated 540 tons of carbon million trees, and earning $35 million in United Nations carbon credits.
Further, this will come at no cost to jeepney drivers, with as much as $800 (or approximately P40,000) a year seen in energy and maintenance savings.
The jeepneys’ charging stations are also expected to help save 375 million liters of oil per year, or the equivalent of 3 percent of the country’s total imported Brent Crude barrels.
QEV Philippines’ green jeepneys are also expected to revitalize the country’s long-running jeepney industry by paving the way for local jeepney manufacturers to enter the electric solutions industry via building, renewal, and maintenance trainings.
“What we propose is not replacement, but rehabilitation. Rehabilitate old jeepneys and make them like new, complete with electrical motors that will make it run on electricity instead of diesel. Help drivers pay for the rehabilitation, through a special program that the Philippine government will make out for them—and in the end put more money in their pockets because the costs of charging with electricity would be so much cheaper than filling it up with diesel,” Bañuelos said.