The jeepney is the king of the road in the Philippines.
Inspired by the US military vehicle called “Jeeps”, it was customized and remodeled to accommodate twice the number of people. Soon, it became the primary mode of transportation virtually everywhere in the country. It is a fancy vehicle that can be decorated with color and images.
It has become a cultural icon – something that can only be found and be associated with the Philippines.
However, the jeepneys of today have become a symbol of the country’s depressing state of transportation. Manila’s roads are heavily congested with public utility vehicles. 40% of them are jeepneys. Pollution is at an all-time high. The drivers’ welfare are often directly affected by oil price hikes, which in turn, are affected not just by the global oil price but also by the ologopolic nature of Philippine oil companies.
You can say that the jeepney is an already outdated piece of technology, but is there an alternative?
GET Philippines thinks they have the solution.
Enter COMET, or City Optimized Managed Electric Transport – a mammoth piece of vehicle that looks like a cross between a jeep and a bus. The media dubs it as a new e-jeepney. GET Philippines actually looks at it as a shuttle, an alternative that has all of the jeepney’s good traits minus its flaws.
COMET is powered by an electric battery, a radical difference from the jeepney’s diesel-powered engine. The battery in particular, is made from lithium iron phospate, the same battery that powers most of today’s technology, such as your Android phone.
Running on electricity means it will not add to Manila’s already insane volume of smoke emission. Not emitting pollution means it can improve the welfare of all the commuters, who are exposed to dirty air every time they commute to and from work. Drivers also do not have to scratch their heads because of rising oil prices.