DOST pitches 23-seater e-jeepney

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MANILA — A locally developed electric jeepney (e-jeepney) is being pitched by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) as an answer to the big challenge of implementing the Department of Transportation (DOTr)’s public utility vehicle modernization program (PUVMP).

“It is an alternative – modern na, electric pa,” Enrico Paringit, executive director of the DOST-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERRD), told The STAR yesterday about the local e-jeep.

Paringit described it as a smart and viable technology developed by local industry as a solution to the mass transport challenges faced by the country.

“It is compliant with the modernized jeepney standards. It also encompasses standards and supply chain for parts,” he said. “Many can claim to be an e-jeep, but their parts and components might not be standardized, which means it would be difficult to maintain.”

He pointed out that this local 23-seater e-jeep’s specifications are compliant to the PUVM.

“These modernized Kings of the Road complies with regulations and are in tune with the government’s thrust towards e-vehicles and other forms of mass transportation. We are optimistic that this upgrade will redound to greater benefits for our citizens,” he said.

“The PUVM requires Euro5 engines, but electric jeeps are of course, run by motors,” he added.

The DOST is strongly encouraging the adoption of electricity and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)-powered public utility jeepneys as viable alternatives to support sustainable transport fuel diversification and as the government pushes for public transport modernization.

Paringit made the pitch as government announced the extension of the deadline for the modernization of jeepneys to Dec. 31, 2023.

He said the DOST supported efforts led by the Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines (EVAP) to develop an e-jeep.

The e-jeep prototype is PNS compliant. It is a lithium-ion battery-powered version of the traditional jeepney and produces zero emissions and no noise pollution, making it an environmentally friendly alternative to the diesel-fueled jeepney.

Furthermore, this e-jeepney has a range of 55km per full charge and a dashboard panel that includes a button to open and close the side door, an emergency button that disables the vehicle, and the standard LED display that shows speed and remaining range. The revolutionary e-jeepney has non-metallic body materials that are excellent insulators with high resistance to corrosion and chemicals.

To address range anxiety, they have also developed battery charging systems along with a workable operations template that involves fleet operations and the collection of daily loan amortization.

On the other hand, the LPG-powered jeepney was developed by the University of the Philippines National Center for Transportation Studies.

This 18-seater PUV ensures passenger safety and convenience as it features seat partitions to prevent passenger compression, distributed and easy access PUV stop buttons, a rear emergency exit door, digital route signage, a cashless payment system, a CCTV camera system and a dashcam. They also installed a cabin public address system for passenger convenience.

The LPG-powered jeepney also includes a ramp that can be used to aid persons with disabilities (PWDs) to get on the vehicle.

Compared to previous designs with 16-seater capacity, the new e-jeepney was designed and developed with a 23-seater capacity. Also, in the previous e-jeepneys, deep cycle lead acid batteries were used.

But for the first time, lithium-ion batteries with battery management system and vehicle control unit were used. Battery charging and swapping technology

have also been studied and set up. The platform of a light truck was used instead of that of a smaller SUV or pickup truck.

The project was conducted by a group of researchers from EVAP and Tojo Motors Corp. with funding from the DOST-PCIEERD Grants-in-Aid Program amounting to P4,991,000.

This project was in support of the government’s PUVMP which aims to upgrade and modernize some 200,000 of the old and dilapidated jeepneys that are more than 15 years old.

Under the program, the modern PUV must conform to the new standards on body dimensions formulated by the Bureau of Philippine Standards and have specified gadgets like the automated fare collection system, GPS, Wi-Fi, dash camera, CCTV and speed limiter.

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