Scaled-Down E-Trike Project to Push Through: DOE

(Taguig City.) The Department of Energy (DOE) will push through with the long-delayed E-Trike Project although on a much smaller scale from the original 100,000 units to just 3,000 and from the original project cost of P21.672 billion to P1.73 billion.

According to Assistant Secretary Leonido Pulido III, despite the many challenges faced by the project from previous Administrations, now nearing the end of its five-year loan term period, the DOE will move to showcase the potential use of clean and diversified energy technologies through the E-Trike.

The DOE headed by Secretary Alfonso Cusi moved to partially cancel the loan contract last year as the Department wanted to revisit all the options available in view of significant flaws in the project’s design, including the choice of just one model and pricing concerns.

Since the approval of the E-Trike Project by the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) in June 2013, recorded investments in e-trike manufacturing and support reached P500 million and generated 14,840 jobs as of the end of 2016, according to the Board of Investments and Electric Vehicle Association of the Philippines.

This month, NEDA-Investment Coordination Committee took note of the DOE proposal last March on the revised project implementation, including the additional deployment options and arrangements.

As there would be substantial changes in the project, the DOE is securing amendments to the loan, Project Administration Manual and related documents with the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The current DOE leadership is pushing through with the procurement of the 3,000 units of e-trikes instead of 100,000 units because this had already been contracted by the previous Administration.

Pulido explained that the DOE decided on 3,000 e-trike units as a sufficient quantity to demonstrate the viability of the technology.

"Sustainability dictates that the appropriate eco-system be in place to support the e-trike beyond deployment or at the point of sale. The terms of the contract of the winning bidder under the project include after-sales support and warranty. This sends a clear and strong signal to the public to make the switch to e-trikes," Pulido said.

Prior to the E-Trike Project, there had been previous attempts to deploy electric tricycles in various parts of the country. However, these early attempts failed because after-sales support was absent or inadequate.

In fact, during the pilot study which served as the basis for the E-Trike Project conducted by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in 2011, after-sales support and warranty were key lessons learned that would determine the success or failure of the e-trike, Pulido pointed out.

Nonetheless, he said, the DOE is committed to working with the ADB and other government partners to address the socially sensitive issue of the project regarding price.

The DOE also noted that ADB’s international competitive bidding rules were observed in every step of the project.

The original project scope of deploying 100,000 e-trike units with a total project cost of P21.672 billion required various arrangements involving the government, the private sector and ADB.

Nevertheless, the DOE acted to ensure that the project would benefit the public at minimal cost to taxpayers. Proof of this is the downscaling of the project cost from a whopping P21 billion to just P1.73 billion. 

Pulido said the project is an investment not only in technology and the environment but more importantly, a socio-economic investment that would jumpstart a nascent industry, generate jobs and ensure sustainable energy consumption in the country.