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Electric Jeepney in the Philippines
An Electric Jeepney (E-Jeepney), the first public transport system of its kind in Southeast Asia, coasts along Ayala Avenue in the Philippines' financial capital of Makati City. © Greenpeace / Rap Rios

Electric Jeepney start operations in the Philippines

July 02, 2008

Four "e-jeepneys" began to serve two routes in Makati City the financial district of Manila, the Philippines' capital. This comes one year after the electric minibuses were launched as part of an initiative called the Climate Friendly Cities Project.

"In Makati, we have started with the electric jeepneys in the hope that when it becomes commercially viable it will address the problems of rising fuel costs, promote the use of alternative fuels and reduce the emission of greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming," Mayor Jejomar Binay said.

The scheme was organised by local government in partnership with Green Renewable Independent Power Producer (GRIPP) and Greenpeace. According to the Makati official website the project leaders 'are also discussing ways to encourage jeepney drivers and operators to switch from regular jeepneys to e-jeepneys. Loans and financial assistance packages are being considered.'

The number of e-jeepney shall increase to 50 as more routes are developed. Operation should also start in cities of Puerto Princesa, Bacolod and Baguio, reports The Earth Times on their website.

The e-jeepneys run on batteries that are recharged using power derived from biodegradable waste. The body, chassis and batteries of the 14-seater minibuses are locally made, but its electric motor, power-train, steering and brake components are still imported.

Jeepneys are the most popular means of public transportation in the Philippines. They were originally made from US military jeeps left over from World War II and are well known for their flamboyant decoration and crowded seating. They have also become a symbol of Philippine culture according to Wikipedia.