Bacolod City – An initial 36 units of electric jeepneys are expected to arrive in Bacolod City from China by the end of November and will be operating the Fortune Towne-Central Market route.
The 22-seater electric vehicle with the look of the iconic Pinoy jeepney was launched by manufacturer Jiangsu Fengchuen New Energy Power Technology Co. Ltd. (Fengchuen), in the city last July.
Robert Cerrada, chief operating officer of e-Future, over the weekend said all 36 units, which will be operating as public utility vehicles (PUVs), were ordered by operators who were awarded by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) the Fortune Towne-Central Market route.
Tests conducted have shown that e-jeepneys will help operators save about 60 percent in operation cost compared to fuel-based PUJs, he said.
The introductory price of one unit of e-jeepney is about P2.4 million, which will come with a slow-charging battery. The vehicle may be acquired through bank financing or leasing scheme.
BK Shin, CEO of e-Future, said the e-jeepney and its battery are covered by warranty. The EV has also been tested to ensure that it could withstand flooding in the city.
Cerrada said their company has been exporting electric vehicles (EVs) to Canada and 18 countries in Europe, and now in the Philippines. While they have initial talks with other local governments in the country, their priority is Bacolod City.
“Bacolod will be a model city for the operation of e-jeepneys,” he said, adding that they are planning to set up a manufacturing plant in the city within two to three years, if the project takes off.
Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez is eager to support the project because of the jobs it will create and the possibility of exporting EV’s to other places in the future.
Cerrada said they are also planning to put up three charging stations in Bacolod – one in the north, one in the south, and Fortune Towne in Brgy. Estefania as the central charging station. The estimated cost of one charging station is about P2 million.
They have an initial investment of about P11.5 million, as required by the Securities and Exchange Commission for a company to be 100 percent foreign-owned, he added.
Meanwhile, Fengchuen had signed a purchasing contract with its first Filipino buyer – the Cebu People’s Multi-Purpose Cooperative, owner-operator of the modernized People’s Jeep, which ordered the first batch of e-jeepneys to be delivered to Bacolod. (Chrysee Semillano via The Visayan Daily Star (TVDS), photo courtesy of TVDS)