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By Claire-Ann C. Feliciano, Senior Reporter

COMET e-jeepney set to debut next month

Posted on April 30, 2014

AROUND 15,000 electric jeepneys (e-jeepneys) could soon ply the local streets as Hong Kong-based Global Electric Transportation Ltd. (GET) committed to bringing in environment-friendly additions to the one of the country’ primary mass transportation modes.

US President Barack Obama checks out the COMET e-jeepney prototype at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza hotel.
GET, a 50-50 joint venture between American and Filipino investors, is next month scheduled to launch the City Optimized Managed Electric Transport (COMET) e-jeepney, a prototype of which was checked out yesterday by US President Barack Obama on the last day of a state visit.

“We’re rolling out the first 30 units between May to June and then we are chasing over a thousand by the end of the year,” GET President Sigfrido R. Tinga told reporters.

The COMETs will initially replace jeepneys that ply the SM North Edsa-to-Monumento route, he added.

The company, which is targeting to have 15,000 COMETs on Metro Manila streets in the next three to five years, has tapped Vancouver-based Pangea Motors as the exclusive provider and distributor. GET’s local unit will be in charge of the fleet management, the cashless fare system, passenger analytics and final vehicle assembly.

“While there many companies that are marketing vehicles for individual customers, we think the solution here in the Philippines are vehicles for mass transportation,” Mr. Tinga said.

Mr. Obama, he said, expressed support for the COMET launch.

“He was really concerned about pollution and he always talks about climate change. So he said, ‘if you guys can make this thing work, it can be very beneficial’,” Mr. Tinga said.

GET Chief Executive Officer Ken Montler said the outlay for the project would be “quite significant” but declined to be more specific.

“It’s a rolling investment,” Mr. Montler said.

“The goal is to take the electric vehicles on the road and manage the transportation system,” he added.

Roberto L. Martin, national president of Pangkalahatang Sangunnian Manila & Suburbs Drivers Association Nationwide, Inc., also expressed support.

“We think this is a total solution to the problem. The prices of diesel products, efficiency of vehicles as well as pollution will be addressed,” Mr. Martin said.

He added that around 50% in savings is expected to be generated daily by every COMET driver.

“Drivers spend an average of P2,000 per day for their fuel but with the e-jeepneys, we expect that they only have to pay P1,000 per day for the charging,” Mr. Martin said.