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Electric jeepney fleet proponent pioneers country’s first battery swap program

October 19, Manila – The pioneer of the country’s first electric jeepney fleet unveiled this morning an innovative battery swap scheme which its proponents expect “to dramatically improve the efficiency and revenue generation of eJeepney operators.” Over thirty guests, including 22 British volunteers headed to Bohol on Friday for climate change solidarity work, graced the occasion.

“With a little practice, we expect the battery change to take the whole of 10 minutes, which is like a common stop in a gasoline station. The previous eight-hour charging process becomes a thing of the past with this program. It means eJeepney drivers can use their vehicles for a longer period and reduce battery depreciation as well,” said iCSC executive director Red Constantino.

Constantino said “green aims must be coupled with robust economic benefits. We anticipate double earnings for operators, which is superb since we’re already saving a huge amount just because we’re using electricity instead of gasoline to power the vehicles.”

The Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, which owns and operates the celebrated eJeepney fleet in Makati City, designed and fabricated the battery program with the support of the British Embassy in Manila. Also known as iCSC, the group is implementing the program in partnership with private sector groups Ejeepney Transport Corp (EJTC) and Motolite.

The scheme is based on a simple roll-off, roll-on logistical set-up, using eJeepneys retrofitted with battery trays and a battery loading bay at the eJeepney depot. A dispatcher rolls out spent battery sets of an eJeepney and replaces it with a fully charged set through a palette lifter manufactured by iCSC.

“Ejeepneys represent huge business potential and improvements in operations such as this scheme can create new revenue streams for groups interested not just in eJeepney operations but in battery leasing as well,” said the CEO of EJTC, Yuri Sarmiento.

“We are with you not as passengers but as partners. Together, we can steer our way to a brighter, more sustainable and prosperous future,” said Trevor Lewis, the British Embassy’s Deputy Head of Mission in remarks made during the event.

“Our company is determined to invest in the future of this country and we are elated to be part of this venture,” said Arnold Sarmiento, who represented leading Philippine battery manufacturer Oriental Motolite.

The battery swapping project aims to accelerate the expansion of electric public utility vehicle applications in the Philippines by increasing the operating time of electric jeepney fleets while reducing time used to charge eJeepney batteries. The pilot test period will take place from October 19, 2011 to February 14, 2012. Partners in the initiative hope data from the project can promote a more rapid transition to low carbon transport in the Philippines.

The battery swapping system is located in Makati City’s Fire Station, the site of the country’s first battery-charging station for electric vehicles. Ejeepney units plying the country’s first two routes – the Legazpi Village loop and the Salcedo Village loop — will utilize the battery swap pilot system, which will be run by iCSC, EJTC, Motolite and Makati City jointly.

“We thank the British Embassy in Manila for their support of the city’s endeavors. We are committed to build a low carbon future together with climate change-resilient development,” said Makati City transportation consultant Ernie Camarillo.

iCSC works on fair climate policy and innovative energy solutions for localities. It is the pioneer of the Climate-Friendly Cities project, which integrates sustainable waste management and renewable energy generation with electric public transport alternatives. #

Photos by: Taweng Attunaga and Red Constantino

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