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Rise of electric VEHICLES

There’ s something about electric vehicles. They don’ t use gasoline or diesel and therefore don’ t pollute the air. They run without noise and are cost-efficient. If Filipinos are educated…

Rise of electric VEHICLES

There’ s something about electric vehicles. They don’ t use gasoline or diesel and therefore don’ t pollute the air. They run without noise and are cost-efficient. If Filipinos are educated about the benefits of using these “ plug-in” modes of transportation, they would be wondering why we haven’ t caught up with the craze yet.

Going “ green” is all the rage right now because of climate change due to greenhouse gas emissions from human activities. Global warming threatens not only the survival of the human species, but also of other living things big and small that call Earth home.

Serious efforts have been made to counter or at least minimize the adverse effects of global warming. Because emissions like carbon dioxide from fossil fuels are a major source of global warming, people have sought alternative sources of energy like solar, hydro and wind power.

They have also come up with electric vehicles.

Four different kinds of electric vehicles now on the market were showcased at PowerTrends 2009, a renewable energy exhibition held on Sept. 9–10 at World Trade Center in Pasay City.

The e-vehicles displayed at PowerTrends— the e-jeep, e-car, e-bike and e-quad— are generally priced higher than their gasoline-powered counterparts.

E-vehicle makers, however, are after advocacy, not profits, says Karl Magsuci, business planning and development manager for EVnnovations Inc., distributor of the first Land Transportation Office-registered e-car in the Philippines. “ What we’ re doing right now is education and raising awareness,” he says.

All four e-vehicles have zero carbon emission.

Their batteries could be charged via a simple household electric socket. Plans to build a biogas-powered recharging station are in the works.

In some areas, like Puerto Princesa City and Boracay, plans to phase out gasoline-powered jeepneys are underway, with e-vehicles gradually being incorporated into their transportation system.

e-car

The Reva e-car, popularly known in London as G-Wiz, was first launched in Bangalore, India, in June 2001. EVnnovations Inc. wants to introduce Reva to the Philippines as a viable mode of transportation.

This two-seater uses eight 48-volt deep-cycle-lead-acid batteries, which charge in eight hours at a cost of P84. Charging for two hours already powers 80 percent of Reva’ s batteries, says Magsuci.

Fully charged, Reva has a maximum range of 80 kilometers, 60 km when the air-con is used, and a top speed of 80 kph.

By contrast, a gasoline-powered car would require about P350-worth of gas to travel 80 km.

No change oil

There’ s virtually no maintenance involved when using the e-car, says Magsuci. “ No change oil, for instance.” The batteries have an average life span of two to three years. Changing batteries would cost around P50,000, says Magsuci.

The only drawback to the e-car is the price, says Magsuci. “ There’ s apprehension in the market due to the prohibitive price,” he says. The e-car is considered a luxury vehicle here, says Magsuci, thus, the cost almost doubles upon reaching our shores. Costing around $10,000 in India or around P500,000, plus import tax, Reva’ s cost could reach close to a million pesos, he says.

He explains, however, that Reva is initially not meant for everyone, but only for a very specific market— the “ high-end,” and environmentally conscious individuals and companies. “ Walk the talk,” he says. “ It’ s time for us to introduce green alternatives, mitigate climate change, and make people ‘ green’ in their motoring habits.”

Leasing program

Selling Reva in the Philippines may not be that easy, says Magsuci. That’ s why EVnnovation is looking at the possibility of a renting or leasing program. Introducing the e-car through public transportation, he adds, is also another way to make its presence known.

The e-car, however, cannot compete with one’ s existing car at this time, Magsuci says. “ It’ s only meant to supplement your current fleet as an alternative vehicle,” he says. “ Think about the future, long-term effects.”

At the moment, there’ s still no tangible support from the government for the promotion of Reva, according to Magsuci. He hopes that trade shows such as PowerTrends will help promote “ green” alternatives.

For more information on Reva electric car, contact Karl Pietrus Magsuci of EVnnovations at 3701314, fax No. 3741671–72, e-mail kbmagsuci@motolite.com, or visit http://www.evnnovations.com/. Their office address is 8F Ramcar Center 80–82 Roces Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City.

e-jeep

The e-jeep was first launched in 2007 in the cities of Makati, Puerto Princesa and Bacolod as part of the Climate Friendly Cities project of Green Renewable Independent Power Producers Inc.(GRIPP). It started its commercial run last year. GRIPP is a local consortium of environmental groups, including Greenpeace.

Tapped by GRIPP to produce the electric vehicle, the Motor Vehicle Parts Manufacturers Association of the Philippines now assembles e-jeepneys through its business arm, Philippine Utility Vehicles Inc. (PhUV). The first prototypes were imported from China.

The e-jeep costs P650,000. It uses 12 6V 220AH batteries, which charge for eight hours at a cost of P150, says John Marasigan, PhUV assistant sales manager for electric vehicles. A fully charged e-jeep has a maximum range of 55 km and a top speed of 35 kph.

Thirty-five units of this 14-seater have so far been sold to a number of government and private institutions in the Philippines, 20 of which are in Makati, says Marasigan. They include De La Salle University in Dasmariсas, Cavite; Plantation Bay Resort in Cebu; the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas in Manila; the House of Representatives in Quezon City; and Embarcadero waterfront development in Legazpi City.

e-quad

The e-quad, or e-tuktuk, marks its launching at PowerTrends 2009. With a seating capacity of six, the vehicle is designed as an alternative to tricycles in subdivisions, according to Marasigan. “ It is ideal in subdivisions because there’ s less noise,” he said. “ Plus it can run in floods.” The e-quad sells for P300,000.

For inquiries about the e-jeep, e-bike and e-quad, contact John Marasigan of Philippine Utility Vehicles Inc. at 9365022 or 9308012, e-mail johnalfonsomarasigan@yahoo.com, or visit www.gripp.org.ph and www.ejeep.org. The office address is 2 Susano Road in Bo. Deparo, Novaliches, Caloocan City

e-bike

Twenty-five units of e-bikes have so far been sold by Philippine Utility Vehicles Inc. Ideal for use in beach resorts and other recreational spots, most e-bikes can now be seen running in Boracay.

Selling for P27,000, the e-bike has a maximum range of 25 km and top speed of 20 kph. Its batteries require only four hours to fully charge, costing around P100.

What’ s good about the e-bike is that once the battery runs out of power, the bike can still be used in the traditional way. By pedaling the e-bike, one does not only get good exercise, but also charges the batteries.

Source : inquirer