THE General Santos City government launched on Tuesday a three-month trial run for electric motor-powered tricycles or e-trikes in partnership with Japanese-backed firm BEMAC Electric Transportation Philippines, Inc.
BEMAC turned over seven e-trikes to the local government on Monday to allow tricycle operators and drivers here to test for free their viability and serviceability in selected routes within the city.
City Councilor Dominador Lagare Jr., chair of the city council’s committee on transportation, said local tricycle drivers would mainly test the e-trikes as possible alternative to the traditional gasoline-fueled tricycles.
He said they would be utilized in major routes in Barangays Apopong, City Heights, Mabuhay and Conel.
These areas comprised the white cluster area of the city’s color-coded public transport routes. The other clusters, which were distributed in the other barangays, are the pink and red.
Lagare said four of the tricycles had been contracted for free to the tricycle operators and drivers cooperative of the white cluster area.
He said two units were commissioned to Barangay Labangal and one to the Sangguniang Panlungsod or city council, through the office of Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative Lucio Cawayan.
Cyril Aguadera, BEMAC sales manager, said the e-trikes were eco-friendly” as they didn’t emit smoke and less noisy.
He said the e-trikes, which were developed by BEMAC’s mother firm Uzushio Electric Company of Japan, could ferry eight to 10 passengers at one time, an upgrade from the maximum of six that could be carried by tricycle models here.
Its charging time lasts at least four hours and would consume an average of one kilowatt of power per hour when in use.
When fully charged, the e-trike could reportedly run for about 60 kilometers at a maximum speed of 50 kilometers per hour.
Lagare said each e-trike currently costs P495,000 per unit based on its approved market price set by BEMAC.
He said that e-trikes were quite expensive when compared to the traditional tricycles, which only cost around P100,000, but said these could be offset in terms of savings from fuel costs.
“We need to consider these alternatives since we are pushing for the modernization of our mass transportation system,” he said.
Reylan Pabriga, chair of the white cluster transport federation, said they were optimistic with the initial projections on the rollout of the e-trikes.
He said that tricycle drivers presently spend an average of P200 per day for gasoline and had to contend with its fluctuating prices.
“For the e-trike, we will be spending just P80 for four hours of charging,” Pabriga said. p: wjg