In April 2011, the Asian Development Bank, together with President Benigno Aquino III, rolled out its pilot project involving 20 electric tricycles being transferred to the City of Mandaluyong as "the first step toward a sustainable, energy-efficient model for the country."
Well, it seems the pilot project was a success. Nearly two years later, the ADB is now extending to the Philippine government a $300-million loan that will replace 100,000 gasoline-burning tricycles in the Philippines with clean, energy-efficient electric tricycles.
"E-trikes are a cleaner, greener transport solution for the Philippines, and provide a better quality of life for trike drivers," said ADB country director for the Philippines Neeraj Jain. "This project can help transform transportation in the Philippines, and positions the country as a leader in electric vehicle development in Asia."
According to the ADB, approximately 3.5 million gas-powered tricycles are currently operating in the Philippines, with the average tricycle driver earning less than $10 (P410) a day. With the e-trike, drivers reported saving over $5 (P205) a day in fuel costs despite carrying more passengers. The e-trike drivers also revealed that their daily income more than doubled during the program's pilot run.
The new e-trikes, which run on electric motors powered by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, will be introduced to Metro Manila and other urban areas across the Philippines through a lease-to-own program. Intended to replace 100,000 gasoline-powered tricycles, the e-trikes will enable the Philippine government, as estimated by the ADB, to save more than $100 million a year in avoided fuel imports while decreasing annual carbon dioxide emissions by about 260,000 tons.
"This project will lessen the Philippines' dependence on foreign oil imports, and by fabricating and assembling the tricycles domestically, it will create up to 10,000 jobs in the five-year project implementation," said Department of Energy undersecretary Loreta Ayson.
In line with the government's plan to develop a national e-vehicle industry, the project will support the establishment of an e-vehicle parts industry, battery supply chain, and charging stations, including five off-grid solar charging stations.
Besides the $300-million loan, the ADB is also administering a $105-million loan and grant from the Clean Technology Fund for other local environment-focused projects. The Philippine government, on the other hand, is expected to provide a $99-million counterpart funding for the project.
According to the ADB, the project will run for five years with an estimated completion date of December 2017.