March 4, 2024

The first unit of electric vehicle (EV) to serve the public in Baguio City was turned over on Nov. 10 to the Irisan Jeepney Operators and Drivers’ Association (IJODA) Transport Cooperative in a ceremonial program held at the Ibaloy Heritage Garden, Burnham Park.

The EV worth P6.5 million was funded by the Global Environment Facility and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) under the Promotion of Low Carbon Urban Transport Systems in the Philippines (LCT) Project for sustainable transportation.

Programme Analyst Gwyneth Anne Palmos of the UNDP Climate Action Team said IJODA will be the first recipient of the project’s Electric Vehicle Incentive Programme (EVIP), which aims to support the shift of transport cooperatives’ fleets towards EVs for a safer, healthier, and more comfortable transportation.

The EV has a seating capacity of 22 plus 10 standing passengers to service IJODA’s main road route from Irisan to the central business district and vice versa.

IJODA Chairperson Anert Bangsael said the EV unit will be added to the 11 modern jeepneys and 78 traditional PUJs of the transport cooperative following the approved fare matrix of P15 minimum fare for modern PUJs plus P1.80 per kilometer.

Bangsael said the cooperative agreed with Benguet Electric Cooperative to provide an adjusted charging station of the EV from 380 volts down to 220 volts metered facility to be paid by IJODA.

The EV can be fully charged overnight at 20 kilowatts through regular charging and 60 kilowatts at fast charging mode.

Bangsael said during the test run, the fully charged EV can run up to a hundred kilometers before the 20 percent low battery indicator prompts.

While the EV was given to the IJODA for free, the cooperative’s counterpart is a commitment to buy at least another unit of EV in the future in support of the government’s Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong said the awarding of the electric vehicle marks a significant milestone for the city, becoming the first EV to be deployed.

“This is just one part of our initiatives towards realizing a low carbon urban transport projects aligned to our Smart Mobility vision and we hope to be able to realize other projects such as our intermodal transport system, elevated monorail, support to modern jeepneys while also promoting hybrid cars, among others,” the mayor said.

The LCT Project’s EV Incentive Programme intends to provide a proof of concept for EV transition in public transport and encourage transport cooperatives to scale up investment in EVs.

In October, the city government, IJODA Transport Cooperative, and the three universities of Dalan ni Taltallak Consortium, namely St. Louis University’s School of Engineering and Architecture, University of Baguio’s School of Engineering and Architecture, and University of the Cordilleras’ College of Engineering and Architecture, signed a memorandum of agreement under the LCT Project, signifying commitment to advance sustainable transportation initiatives and continue to serve as models for other cities, even beyond the project.

Along with the EV, the UNDP through the LCT Project also distributed three sets of information, communications technology software to the Dalan ni Taltallak Consurtium for LCT research and innovation to mitigate the environmental impacts of greenhouse gases and find data-based solutions for lowering emissions, which can be disseminated and adopted at the national level.

Meanwhile, ICT and transport equipment was likewise turned over to the City Engineering Office-Traffic and Transportation Management Division in support of the efforts to adopt environment-friendly transport systems and sustainable transport initiatives.

The UNDP hopes that by adopting sustainable transportation, especially in highly urbanized areas, the project will contribute towards the reduction of greenhouse gases, while providing safe, accessible, and efficient mobility options; promoting health; and advancing socio economic development. – Jessa Mardy P. Samidan