By DOM GALEON
When I used to write for an online science magazine based in Brooklyn, I often found myself feeling sad. Don’t get me wrong, I loved what I was doing and I enjoyed writing about all the latest trends in modern technology. What saddened me was the realization that most of these tech would take years to make it to the Philippines.
One particularly interesting technology I had covered during my stint in that magazine was electric vehicles or EVs. Almost every first world country has now started to seriously invest in developing cars that run on electricity. In Europe, for example, several countries have put into action programs that will make sure their roads are free of combustion engine vehicles in the next 10 to 20 years. In Asia, China and Japan have been doing something similar.
Recently, I found out that there are Filipino companies who are investing in EVs. I had the opportunity to sit down on one of these companies, Global Electric Transportation (GET), and I found out that they have been in the business of developing EVs as viable options for public transportation for a couple of years now.
GET started with a test run of sorts along Katipunan. Now they are getting ready to roll out six e-jeepneys this month. “We have partnered with SM to put our EVs, which we have named COMET, on a route around SM Mall of Asia,” says GET president Freddie Tinga.
Now when he says e-jeeps, don’t imagine the classic jeepney running on electricity. While others have done that, Freddie says that it isn’t a viable design. Putting cultural nostalgia aside, the classic jeepney design makes for a less efficient EV, he adds. For one, the original jeepney designs have a heavy body and their metal/aluminum make doesn’t help.
This, in fact, is a good decision on the part of GET. According to the specifications laid out by Department of Transportation’s modernization plan, e-jeeps should not have the same kind of door and seats found in classic jeepneys. Instead of having the door at the back of the vehicle, it should be placed on the side.
GET has even added its own touch to the design. Aside from putting the door on the side, they also lowered the COMET’s frame to make sure it will be easy for persons with disabilities to board the vehicle. There’s also space for wheelchairs inside. Its seats are also well-spaced to ensure maximum comfort for passengers. In keeping with the DOTr’s specs, COMET also offers free Wi-Fi for its passengers and each vehicle will have a CCTV inside.
To make it more convenient for passengers, the COMET will operate on a cashless method. Passengers can pay using an app that GET will make available when the COMET starts operating at the Mall of Asia later this month.
We took our best experience, our best
knowledge in terms of technology and
put it in a version that is for public
transportation. —Isaias Sousa
Under its hood, the COMET runs on the best EV technology available today, thanks to GET’s partnership with Barcelona-based company QEV Technologies. “The best [EV] technologies are in our hands,” says QEV project manager Isaias Sousa. “And we’re putting all of it inside the COMET.”
QEV has been developing EVs for the Formula E, which is a motorsport for electric-powered cars. Think nearly Formula 1 speeds but instead of running on combustion engines, the race cars in Formula E run on cleaner and more efficient electric-powered engines. Every vehicle that competes at the Formula E runs on batteries.
Now imagine that kind of power packed inside a commuter vehicle.
That’s what QEV has done for GET. “Everything is the same, we took our best experience, our best knowledge in terms of technology and put it in a version that is for public transportation,” explains the Catalan driving simulator designer. “You look at it from the outside and it’s very different from the other cars that we have made. But when you open it and you take a peek on the inside, it’s the same—the same engine, the same battery.”
For QEV and GET, the concept is simple. It’s about bringing the
best technology available out there to more people. And what better
way to do it than with a vehicle like the COMET, which is designed
for public transportation. After all, who doesn’t want an eco-friendly
option for daily commuting?
www.getevee.com | www.qevtech.com