This is the COMET, short for City Optimized Managed Electric Transport. It is described by its distributor as a \"medium-speed fully electric city shuttle that offers superior functionality and environmental benefits.\" The company that will supposedly launch 30 COMET units in January for use in Metro Manila is called GET (Global Electric Transportation) Philippines. The ultimate goal is to have this thing finally retire the anachronistic Philippine jeepney.
The electric shuttle is reportedly manufactured by Pangea Motors, a partner of GET Philippines\' that is supposedly based in Vancouver, Washington, in the US. We don\'t know much else about the company apart from this as its official website shows nothing but its address and phone number.
Meanwhile, GET Philippines, according to its own website, is staffed by CEO Ken Montler, president (and former Taguig mayor) Sigfrido Tinga, managing director Anthony Dy, and design/production director David Boyd. Mitch Genato--one of the former producers of the now-defunct Hotwire TV show whom we haven\'t heard from since leaving some \"unsettled business\" within the motoring beat--serves as the company\'s media solutions director. Montler is said to be a pioneer in the EV industry, having been the \"creative force behind Global Electric Motorcars,\" which was apparently bought by DaimlerChrysler and which became \"the first company to sell over 40,000 on-road all-electric vehicles after reaching single-day production volumes of over 150 cars.\"
But on to the COMET...
The COMET is a 16-passenger (including the driver) electric shuttle vehicle powered by a 30kW, 150Nm motor that utilizes lithium-iron phosphate batteries (which can purportedly be charged up to 7,000 cycles). The vehicle, according to GET Philippines, is made using fewer than 350 parts, in stark contrast to a diesel vehicle\'s 4,000 parts.
It is claimed that the COMET can travel up to 100km--with a top speed of 60kph--on a four-hour electric charge. The energy consumption is said to be 40% less compared to a typical diesel engine found under the hood of a jeepney. There is even this impressive computation: One COMET vehicle will spare us 22 million grams of carbon dioxide and 120,000 grams of nitrogen oxide each year.
Measuring 5.75m long, 2.05m wide and 2.22m tall--with a weight of just 1,360kg--the COMET has a passenger cabin that boasts a height clearance of 6\'2\". Even up-and-coming UAAP players won\'t have a difficult time with ingress and egress.
Clearly, GET Philippines is bent on trumpeting every single one of the COMET\'s clear advantages over the jeepney.
But most interesting is GET Philippines\' promise to COMET drivers of a fixed income that is above the minimum wage, unlike what little that jeepney drivers take home with them every day. Besides this, there is the promise of convenience and modernity: The COMET will be equipped with a smart mobile device that will \"handle fare management, navigation instructions and vehicle metrics.\" No more \"barya lang po sa umaga,\" presumably.
Other high-tech features include a \"tap in/tap out\" payment system, a CCTV camera, a backing-up camera, a built-in multimedia screen, power steering, hydraulic disc brakes, and air suspension. Not bad for what could possibly be the jeepney\'s successor.
So, will the COMET be the public-transport vehicle that finally puts to rest the iconic Philippine jeepney? Your guess is as good as ours.
Photos from GET Philippines\' Facebook page
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