In a bid to promote sustainable transportation in Asia Pacific, Clean Air Asia, together with its various partners, has been at the forefront of supporting the electric mobility (e-mobility) transition through capacity building activities, roundtable discussions and policy dialogues, and pilot demonstration activities.
“E-mobility is one of the critical solutions to the reduction of air pollution. We are now trying to take a bold step in that journey towards e-mobility, and therefore low emissions and more livable cities,” said Bjarne Pedersen, Executive Director of Clean Air Asia.
Promotion of green freight and e-mobility
In 2019, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and Chinese electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer TailG donated 30 units of electric 2- and 3-wheelers to Philippine Postal Corporation in Pasig City to test the use of EVs in mail and parcel delivery, while reducing noise and air pollution.
Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto highlighted this benefit, adding that he wanted the Pasiguenos to be more familiar with the use of EVs.
“With the electric 2- and 3-wheelers' pilot demonstration in Pasig, not only will karteros (letter carriers) benefit from purpose-built vehicles, but the communities they work in will benefit from improved safety, reduced noise, and less pollution. We want Pasiguenos to become more familiar with EVs and consider this for both personal and business mobility,” he said in a video message regarding the project launch.
Meanwhile, UNEP Programme Officer Bert Fabian underscored the need to properly integrate the use of EVs and especially the smaller modes of EVs for moving not only passengers but also goods.
“This project talks about electrifying urban freight – and freight is very important because usually our goods are carried by diesel vehicles all around our city. And diesel vehicles emit a lot of air pollution and, at the same time, consume a lot of fuel,” Fabian said.
When the pandemic struck, these EV units along with the other e-tricycles already with the local government were used by Pasig City to assist frontliners, volunteers, patients, and residents to respond to their daily needs.
In September 2021, a roundtable discussion regarding e-mobility initiatives in the Philippines was organized by Clean Air Asia to inform all stakeholders on ongoing and planned e-mobility programs and jointly explore cooperation to avoid duplication of efforts.
The discussions revealed that multiple solutions are being piloted in the country, including the use of e-quadricycles, e-tricycles, e-jeeps, e-buses, and e-2/3 wheelers. However, most are on passenger movement and more interventions are still needed to support the transition of the freight sector to e-mobility.
A united effort with more development partners
SOLUTIONSplus, a European Commission-funded project, actively supports cities such as Pasig City (Philippines), Kathmandu (Nepal), Kigali (Rwanda), Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Quito (Ecuador), Montevideo (Uruguay), Madrid (Spain), Nanjing (China), and Hamburg (Germany) in their transition to e-mobility.
In Pasig City, SOLUTIONSplus pilot demonstration that is being developed focuses on the integrated and urban logistics solutions through the development of an e-quadricycle. Clean Air Asia’s collaboration with UNEP through the support of the International Climate Initiative (IKI) continues with the setting up of charging infrastructure within the next two months within Pasig City Hall to cater to the e-trikes already managed by the local government.
Another project parallel to this effort is the UPS CitieSWITCH to E-mobility program of the UPS Foundation which aims to integrate e-mobility solutions into cities’ Clean Air Action Plans and has supported the development of the emission inventory with a focus on mobile emission sources.
The use of spatial mapping also allowed the visualization of the city’s high-risk zones, such as highly populated barangays, schools, and health facilities. Through this, areas that are vulnerable and with high incidences of air pollution-related health claims have been identified. Such assessment allows Pasig City to identify the areas that should be prioritized and identify the services that can be explored.
These initiatives not only focus on pilot-testing the technology but also seek to address the gaps in policies, capacity, and institutional structure. The successful creation of the Pasig E-mobility Steering Committee through Executive Order No. PCG-63, Series of 2021 is one such example.
At the national level, Clean Air Asia is supporting the Department of Energy’s Energy Utilization Management Bureau (DOE-EUMB) in formulating the Comprehensive Roadmap for the Electric Vehicle Industry (CREVI) for the Philippines together with a team of experts representing the industry, the academe and international research institute.
Pursuant to Section 6 of the Republic Act No. 11697 or the Electric Vehicle Industry Development Act (EVIDA), which recently became a law in April 2022, the said roadmap serves as a national development plan to “accelerate the development, commercialization, and utilization of electric vehicles (EV) in the country.” It outlines targets, strategies, and policy recommendations to shift different market segments, such as logistics, tourism, and businesses/corporations to e-mobility, as well as to boost industry and infrastructure development.
“In the end, our efforts in Clean Air Asia – together with our development partners – is a continuous work to which our vision would only be realized if we are now breathing better air quality and healthier, more livable cities in Asia,” Pedersen said.