INITIAL tests for the e-buses and e-jeeps in Baguio indicate that there needs to be more work done before electric vehicles, especially public utility vehicles (PUV) become viable for the mountainous terrain of Baguio City and the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), according to Jose Bienvenido Manuel Biona, executive director of the Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (EVAP).
While the president has backed plans to lift tariffs on imported electric vehicles to promote electric transportation in the country, Biona says that current available models are not yet ready for the region.
Current models do not have the 40-kilowatt to 50-kilowatt battery power for navigating steep roads, and e-jeepneys would also require a 36-kilowatt-hour battery size or type, and higher power density that is currently not used by e-vehicles in the market, Biona said.
According to Biona, who participated in the initial tests of the e-jeeps in Baguio City, e-jeeps need to be able to ply steep roads if e-PUVs are to take off in the region, but modifications to make e-PUVs mountain-ready would take at least six months per model and cost operators an additional P3 million per model, on top of the initial acquisition cost of over P2 million.
While the PUV modernization program of the Department of Transportation (DoTr) facilitates loans and funding for acquisition of modernized vehicles and e-vehicles, PUV operators and motorists will still need “upfront support” to transition in a financially sound manner, Biona said.