Tuesday, October 12, 2010

E-trikes the Bigger Picture

An e-Jeepney by PHUV, Inc.
at our Green Tech Eco Center
We are doing a study into making electric tricycles in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, sp it's good news that many government and private businesses, are looking to replace the gas guzzling, smoke belching versions.

What bothers me is that I hear of  30 of  them available for cities, but I'm not reading about what happens after all the media hoopla and the cities are stuck with electric trikes no one knows how to service or maintain. Who is going to service all the units in all those cities? (Click here to read 280 Mil USD made availabley by ADB)  It isn't that they break down a lot. Many of the problems come from the drivers not really knowing how to operate them properly.  In fact, my etrike has never let me down yet.

When we opened up our Green Tech Eco Center, which services most of the City's electric vehicles and serves as a showroom for the electric motorbikes we sell,  I have watched the units come back to us with more problems compounded by the units having been brought to un-trained gas service centers before being brought to us.  I can only guess at the reasons.
ET3 electric prototypes

Our project is not just about converting the gas trikes to keep our air clean, our advocacy is to create new jobs that go with making the e-trikes. We are working with local trade schools and PSU to create programs that will benefit the new industry and the local workers.  When eventually the units converted here in Puerto are put on the roads, we would be overwhelmed with service calls, just to fix operator errors if we don't start training people as we go.

The Philippines still does not have all the components for the main electrical systems, essentially, the heart of the units, the assembly is still a very large part of this manufacturing process.

The future of the e-trike conversion depends on the units being properly serviced and maintained. I have watched others in the industry deal with this problem. We have even had our partner PHUV,  Inc., contacted by a competitor for service related issues. That company has at least 200 units on the market and not enough skilled labor to keep them up and running simultaneously.
Dave Dewbre, electric vehicle
consultant, explaining to
Mayor Ed Hagedorn the difference
between closed cell and regular

I think the schools in every city receiving the new e-trikes should be brought in to train the local mechanics to service and maintain the sustainability. They can provide OJT's initially to help offset the cost of their training and lessen the cost to the business making the newer units there.

Welders are needed,  fiberglass body makers, as well as certified electrical mechanics. The manufacturer of the electric motor we use, is willing to send his technicians to train others on the proper assembly of the components as well as maintenance.  Eventually local private entrepreneurs can open up service centers and offer aftermarket accessories as well.

Dave Dewbre is offering his extensive experience to help get the program started, so everyone will win. We want to see this new industry up and burgeoning everywhere.
Dave Dewbre in ET3 during the
Love Affair w Nature event. Feb. 2010

I am very grateful to be a woman in this etrike business and to be able to enjoy my unit daily. I have first hand experience in driving as well as maintaining my ET3, and I have a spouse who knows these things front and backwards, plus he has an assistant he has trained whose skills are impeccable.

I have a dream, and that dream is to keep enjoying the clean air of Puerto Princesa, and having had a small hand in directing the population to a new green industry that will create more jobs that make a happy healthy community. To see this technology and job creation in other cities would even be better.

Related photos and articles:
ADB offers $280-million loan to boost RP's clean air program

Tricycles Go Electric - Malaya Online

Puerto Princesa to Field 40 Electric Tricycles as Taxi Fleet - Manila Bulletin

Mayor Edward Hagedorn Global Solidarity Movement website:

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