Energy department plans to put up solar-powered charging stations for e-trikes

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By Victor V. Saulon, Sub-Editor

THE Department of Energy (DoE) has been tasked to put up solar-powered charging stations to go along with its deployment of 3,000 electric tricycles (e-trikes) in selected local government units (LGUs) all over the country.

“Part of the challenge right now with the e-trike is that we were also given the go-ahead to use the Clean Technology Fund (CTF), the grant from CTF . . . to put up solar charging stations. So we’re drafting terms of reference for that. We’ll have to bid it out,” said Energy Assistant Secretary Leonido J. Pulido III

“That’s gonna take a while because we’re waiting for certain consultants to come in and help us come up with a plan and terms of reference,” he told reporters in a chance interview during the 6th Philippine Electric Vehicle Summit at the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia Complex, in Pasay City.

The CTF is a grant from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), he said, placing the allocation for the solar charging stations at around $4 million.

The charging stations are the latest twist in the DoE’s e-trike project that encountered delays in implementation under the past administration.

In January 2016, the DoE awarded the contract to supply 3,000 e-trikes to the consortium of Japan’s Uzushio Electric Co. Ltd. and its local unit Bemac Electric Transportation Philippines, Inc. The price of each vehicle ranged between P455,000 to P461,000.

The award followed a second round of negotiation to further lower the price offered by the qualified lone bidder for the project.

However, when Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi took over in 2016, he canceled part of the loan contract as he wanted to revisit available options in view of “significant flaws” in the project’s design, the choice of just one e-trike model and its pricing.

After much delay, the DoE revived the project in June 2017 but scaled down to 3,000 units from the original 100,000 for a lower cost of P1.73 billion from P21.672 billion.

Mr. Pulido said for every deployment of the 3,000 units, the DoE is required to obtain a “no-objection” letter from the ADB, which funded the project. The signatories of the contract were the ADB and the Department of Finance.

So far, about 30 to 40 e-trikes had been physically deployed to LGUs. Around 1,600 to 1,700 units have been committed to be deployed to Marawi, Valenzuela, Muntinlupa, Las Piñas and Pateros, he said.

The DoE official said Marawi is almost done with the documentary requirements and is set to receive 190 units to bring the total deployment to the city at 200.

The rest of the units have not been committed but the DoE is considering a number of applications, Mr. Pulido said.

Boracay, which is undergoing rehabilitation, is a likely recipient as there are ongoing talks with the task force handling revival of the resort island, he said. An LGU’s tourism value is among the criteria for deploying an e-trike to that locality.