by: Kim Luces for GMA News Online
Electric jeepneys that double as mobile power stations — this is what one advocacy group is trying to make happen in Tacloban City in Eastern Visayas in an attempt to help solve both transport and power problems in the area as part of the RE-Charge Tacloban project.
“We’ll schedule visits to communities that have no power as of now because there are still communities without power. Of course we have to talk to the leaders of the community and see what their power needs are. People can bring their cellphones, laptops, rechargeable lamps, and they can charge sa electric jeepney,” Reina Garcia, project manager of the RE-Charge Tacloban project of the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (iCSC), said in an interview with GMA News Online this week.
When it happens, it will be the first time that the technology will be applied in such a way in the Philippines, she added.
Enter the eJeepney
The iCSC released the country’s first locally-manufactured eJeepney in 2008 and a fleet of those jeepney now traverse some areas in Makati and in Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City.
Another fleet of six jeeps will be deployed in Tacloban by the end of July.
“Almost half of the fleet that we will be launching in Tacloban will be composed of multicabs that were damaged by Yolanda,” said Garcia.
Multicabs, smaller version of jeepneys, are the main modes of transportation inside Tacloban City. “We plan to take those multicabs and install electric motors because those have already been damaged. We’re going to install electric motors and revive those vehicles,” she added.
“We’ll be retrofitting some of the electric jeepneys as a power station. Each jeepney is a power station, and we’ll be adding more energy storage facilities,” Renato Redentor “Red” Constantino, executive director of iCSC, said in an earlier interview.
“We’ll start with one unit for that. We’ll convert one of the multicabs to electric and we’ll make it into a mobile power station,” Garcia explained.
However, since the effort is still in its early stages, iCSC has yet to provide a design model for the electric jeep/mobile power station.
The main difference between the retrofitted jeepney and the regular jeepney is that the former will contain more battery banks to meet the charging needs of people in Tacloban.
An eJeepney charging station will also be built in Tacloban where solar arrays or solar panels will be placed.
“The charging station is also a motor pool for the maintenance of the jeep, pero at the same time, the biggest difference is may solar array siya so most of the electricity will come from renewable energy,” said Garcia.
Constantino said that the eJeepneys will be traversing downtown Tacloban.
“In Tacloban, we’re already studying (other) routes na possible. At the same time, outside of Tacloban, in the Leyte area, we’re also studying which areas would benefit from the e-jeepney. That’s really our pilot, so we’ll work on that, make it happen, then hopefully we’ll be able to have a model which we can apply to other areas,” Garcia said.
The residents of Tacloban will also be trained to maintain and drive the eJeepneys.
To help with funding, 100 percent of the proceeds of the book “Agam” , which was launched this week, will go to the Re-Charge Tacloban Project.