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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Bacolod poised to be e-jeep production hub

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Bacolod City – A Chinese company backed by Korean investment is proposing to set up an industrial complex for the production of electric vehicles for local and Southeast Asia markets.

Over-the-weekend, Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez and Jiangsu Fengchuen New Energy Power Technology Co. Ltd. (Fengchuen) chairman Li Longde signed an investment intention agreement, during a launching ceremony at the Bacolod Government Center.

The partnership paves the way for Bacolod to become the first local government unit in the country to host the production of e-jeeps that would support the national government’s Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program.

“We’re launching our e-jeep after six months since we first met on our state visit to China. This is not just about talking. I would like to commend chairman Li for making sure that it becomes a reality,” Benitez said.

“Imagine, the City of Bacolod will be the pioneer for this project. We are very blessed to have their confidence to be able to invest here,” he added.

Li said that Fengchuen, which has a research and development (R&D) center based in Korea, has successfully developed a new e-jeepney, considered a new achievement in the R&D for e-vehicles.

“This has many leading technologies, including efficient battery packs, intelligent charging systems and intelligent driving assistance,” he added.

Having the unique appearance and cultural characteristics of the iconic Pinoy jeepney, the 22-seater e-jeep “incorporates advanced new energy technologies, which will help reduce pollutant emissions, improve energy utilization efficiency and contribute to the sustainable development of the Philippines.”

Each unit has a 60 kilowatt-hours battery capacity, 60 kilometers per hour top speed, and 140 kilometers driving range.

Benitez said they will have further discussions on the location of the manufacturing plant since Fengchuen plans to expand its operations in the city.

“At first, they just want(ed) to build a factory but now, they want to already include the auto parts suppliers. They are thinking of an industrial complex, not just a manufacturing plant,” he added.

In his presentation, Fengchuen general manager Hae Il Jeong said they plan to set up an e-vehicle manufacturing plant in this city “for the Philippines market and the Southeast Asia market.”

“We have been working for three years to develop e-jeepney as part of Fengchuen’s Philippines business. Fengchuen appreciates the great support from the Philippine government, especially from Bacolod City,” he said.

The business strategy includes the establishment of plants for e-jeepney assembly, body parts, and e-logistics vehicle assembly, proposed to operate between 2024 and 2026.

During the launching ceremony, the city government received two units of e-jeeps as donations from the e-vehicle maker.

Fengchuen also signed a purchasing contract with its first Filipino buyer – the Cebu People’s Multi-Purpose Cooperative, owner-operator of the modernized People’s Jeep.

“The sales agreement with the operator was for 15 units. In our talks, they said they will initially bring in 300 units. After the 300 e-jeeps arrived, they will start building the manufacturing plant,” Benitez said.

(News & photo courtesy of Bacolod City Public Information Office)

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