An Electric Jeepney, the first public transport system of its kind in Southeast Asia, coasts along Ayala Avenue in the Philippines' financial capital of Makati City.
Cultural icon of the Philippines, the flamboyantly designed
jeepney wasinitially constructed from leftover American World War 2
troopvehicles. While providing one of the cheapest means of
commuting, thediesel-guzzlers are notorious air polluters, posing a
health risk fordrivers and commuters.
A 16 passenger jeepney uses nearly the sameamount of fuel as a
54 passenger air-conditioned bus. With major urbanroads clogged by
empty jeepneys cruising for fares, there is a government threatto
remove the jeepneys from the streets of major cities.
Athena Ronquillo Ballesteros is a long serving
climate campaigner forGreenpeace based in Manilla and is passionate
about making changehappen on a local as well as global level. She
is also a GreenRenewable
Independent Power Producer Inc. (GRIPP) founder and
"It was 4, maybe 5 years ago while walking down thestreets of
Manila that we dreamed of an electric tuktuk for Thailand,and an
electric jeepney for the Philippines. Now, our dream has cometrue.
It's indeed a magical moment. People from all walks of lifegathered
with much excitement as we watched the first two electricjeepneys
take off on one of the busiest streets of Metro Manila,
Working with GRIPP we launched the
Climate FriendlyCities project to address climate change, urban
air pollution and wastemanagement issues in major cities in the
region. The trial is takingplace in Negros, a Philippino province
that made history by
stopping construction of a coal power plant because of
The fleet of electric jeepneys willgrow from a pilot set of six
to 50. The vehicles will run on batteriescharged overnight by a
power plant fuelled by biogas generated from theorganic waste from
the city's markets and households.
For citieslike Makati, the environmental, economic, health and
social benefits ofthis project will include cleaner air, better
waste management, ahealthier population and most importantly a
significant contribution tocurbing dangerous climate change.
Whilethe electric jeepney fleet is a first in Southeast Asia,
each of theproject components already exist elsewhere - electric
buses in Nepal,biogas generators in many parts of Asia and
community charging stationsfor solar systems in off-grid
communities. The 'magic' of the projectlies in the integration into
a cohesive package of cleaner, safer,renewable energy options. It
is a concrete embodiment of our
By 2050 the transport sector willconstitute more than 30 percent
of the global greenhouse gas emissions.This small step if
replicated and scaled up could make a significantcontribution to
avoiding emissions from fossil fuelled vehicles. Theiconic jeepney
remains, but without wasteful and carbon emitting diesel.
Video footage from the launch of the e-jeepneys in Makati city.
Theelectric jeepneys will also significantly increase incomes of
thevehicles' drivers by reducing their expenses on fuel,
demonstrating tooperators that electric jeepneys are a viable
investment becausereduced maintenance costs increase financial
Theelectric jeepney represents three good things in one: It's a
good forthe local environment, a win for the climate and benefits
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