(The Philippine Star) | Updated July 19, 2017 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Energy (DOE) is looking to complete the rollout of its electric tricycle (e-trike) project within the year once proposed amendments submitted to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) are approved.
The amendments include the rebranding of the electric vehicles (e-vehicles) program into the tricycle modernization program, DOE-Energy Utilization and Management Bureau (EUMB) director Patrick Aquino said.
Apart from rolling out the units with local government units (LGUs), the proposed change will also open the distribution to other channels including private parties and other government agencies, he said.
“The target of the Department of Finance, (DOF), ADB and DOE to have the amendments in place is before the end of July and complete rollout of units within the year,” Aquino said.
In Sept. 27, 2013, the government, through the DOF, signed two loan agreements and a grant agreement with ADB for the implementation of the “Market Transformation through Introduction of Energy Efficient Electric Vehicles (E-Trikes) Project.”
The loan agreement amounted to $504 million, or roughly P21.67 billion, and covered the delivery of 100,000 e-trike units by end-2017.
Initially, 3,000 e-trikes will be distributed to LGUs in Metro Manila, Region 4-A and Region 4-B to jumpstart the shift to e-vehicles to reduce the country’s fuel imports and lessen annual carbon dioxide emissions.
However, due to steep prices of units from around P250,000 to currently around P455,000, and the lack of charging stations in localities, there were no takers for the e-trikes.
In December 2016, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi decided to discontinue the e-trike project to save government from incurring more expenses and from disrupting the electric vehicle industry’s growth from non-economical projects.
Instead, the agency will just pursue the rollout of the 3,000 e-trike units already produced by BEMAC Electric Transportation Philippines Inc.
But last month, the Commission on Audit (COA) called out the DOE for its failure to distribute even a single unit of the e-trikes to the intended beneficiaries.
The DOE has asked the National Economic Development Authority-Investment Coordination Committee (NEDA-ICC) for the cancellation of at least $359.76 million worth of ADB loans for the e-trike project, which was approved also in June.