Thursday, October 2, 2008

e-Jeepney? In Makati?

Okay, for some of you, the question may be.... "What's a Jeepney?"

A jeepney is a very common mode of transportation in the Philippines. And, yes, it's based on the general form of the WWII version of the American jeep. After WWII, there were bunches of jeeps left behind as the Allied Forces left the Philippines and headed for home. Entrepreneurial and creative Filipinos salvaged these jeeps, fixed them up, lengthened the bodies, decorated them inside and out, and put them on the streets as an economic "bus system" that is sort of a cross between taxi and bus service and abstract art gallery. They are usually ornately decorated with wild colors, chrome, and ornaments.

The local government of Makati City (suburb of Manila) is planning on having 10 electric jeepneys (e-Jeepney) by December of this year. They already have three out there running around, but they want to add 7 more before the end of the year. The eJeeps are locally designed and built by the Motor Vehicle Parts Manufacturing Association of the Philippines (MVPMAP)--a consortium of about 130 Philippine automotive parts and components manufacturing companies.

They take a long time to procure and assemble because many of the components that make up an "eJeepney" are imported from foreign suppliers. (As with most finished products today, right?)

It will be interesting to see how the e-Jeepneys fare in the heavy traffic around Manila. Also, I'd be interested in seeing their "recharging stations" or whether they are pure-electric or whether or not they are hybrid-electric vehicles (HEV) or plug-in-hybrid-electric vehicles (PHEV). The flat roof of these vehicles would be a handy place to install photovoltaic panels to help keep the batteries charged while they are sitting in parking lots and at the curbs waiting for fares.

(much of the information in this post came from the Philippines Today newspaper Sept 25-Oct 1 edition)

Photo by Dave Gardner

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