Last week, the country's electric vehicle (EV) bill silently lapsed into law without the President's signature. Also called the Electric Vehicle Industry Development Act (or R.A. 11697), the new regulation is designed to promote the manufacturing and development of EVs in the country. Moreover, it will also see the installation and maintenance of charging stations all over the country.

All well and good, but when will local manufacturers be able to take advantage of the Electric Vehicle Industry Development Act? Fortunately, a group of engineers from the Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (EVAP) is already on it.

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) together with EVAP, recently introduced 23 locally-made electric jeepneys (e-Jeepneys) via a demo run in Alabang, Muntinlupa. Made by engineers of EVAP, the research, development, and prototyping was funded by the DOST for PHP 4.9 million.

It's capable of seating 23 passengers and is designed to upgrade and modernize the conventional jeepneys. It uses new materials and locally-made lithium-ion batteries complete with a management system to ensure the system is kept in check.

PH develops 23 locally-produced electric jeepneys image

It's powered by a 15 kW electric motor which provides a total system output of 20 PS. Electric juice comes courtesy of a 96V lithium-ion battery pack that allows the e-Jeepneys to have a range of 55km per full charge and a top speed of 45 km/h. Size-wise, the electric jeepney measures 4820mm long, 1800mm wide, and 2570mm tall.

“This revolutionized jeepney is designed to comply to the new vehicle Philippine National Standard by utilizing new materials and locally-made lithium-ion batteries with battery management system. This innovation helps reduce CO2 emissions, fossil fuel consumption, fuel costs, and noise pollution. This 23-seater e-Jeepney is a viable alternative to a regular diesel jeepney and complies with the government's Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP),” said the DOST in a statement.

DOST-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, Emerging Technology Research and Development executive director Enrico Paringit said that ToJo Motors, a local company that specializes in manufacturing EVs, has already committed to adopt the technology and build the 23-seater jeepney. Meanwhile, DOST Secretary Fortunato dela Peña urged other players in the industry to be involved in the production of EVs in the country.

PH develops 23 locally-produced electric jeepneys image

“We urge our friends from the industry to work together in this journey towards energizing the transport sector for the successful adoption of e-vehicles. We call on our partners in government and in the private sector to come up with creative support mechanisms, like financing and leasing, so that manufacturing of the vehicle or its components could be more attractive for investors, and will eventually benefit the operators and drivers and the riding public,” shared dela Peña.

With the price of oil continuing to seesaw, the DOST and EVAP believe that electrifying the country's transportation system is one of the ways that will free it from skyrocketing fuel prices. Together with the Electric Vehicle Industry Development Act, perhaps it can also make EV production more popular in the near future.

The only question now is, will all be on board for the electrification of the jeepney? And can the government actually promote the installation of more charging stations in the country?