One of Ejeepney fleet that serves routes within Ayala Business District in Makati City, The Philippines.

Photograph by Rony Zakaria

Great Energy Challenge Innovator: Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (iCSC)

Project: Solar-powered battery swapping system for electric vehicles

Location: Quezon City, Philippines

Summary: In 2007, iCSC launched the electric vehicle revolution in the Philippines with Climate-Friendly Cities—an innovative program that connects alternative and sustainable transport solutions with efficient clean energy generation—with an initial fleet of electric jeepneys or eJeepneys. Jeepneys are 'mini-buses' traditionally made from WWII-era vehicles that have been assembled for the purpose of serving as public utility vehicles (PUVs). They are iconic public transportation vehicles that have become one of the symbols of Philippine culture. Because they run on diesel, however, jeepneys are one of the most inefficient and polluting PUVs. The eJeepney was borne out of the need to promote clean transport and energy solutions in the Philippines.

Working closely with the public and private sectors, the program has since produced historic milestones such as the country's first domestically manufactured eJeepney, the first public routes dedicated to electric transport, and the first electric vehicle charging station and battery-swapping program.

The project Re-charge introduces the solar photovoltaic (PV) component as a viable renewable energy source that shall supply a portion of the energy requirements of the charging and battery-swapping station of an eJeepney fleet. A 10 kilowatt solar PV system will provide 38.4 kilowatt-hours of electricity per day. A charging station with a battery-swapping facility and powered by solar PV will enable eJeepney drivers to operate for longer hours, reduce battery wear and tear and increase potential income. This is a necessary step to steadily reduce reliance on the main grid, which is still dependent on coal and other fossil fuels. Proceeds from the project will be used to replicate the initiative and increase opportunities for scale-up.

Goal: To promote and enhance low-carbon development in transport coupled with clean energy power generation through innovative battery charging systems powered by renewable energy

Project Participants:

Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (iCSC): Reina Garcia, program coordinator

Ejeepney Transport Corporation: Noel Dimaano, chief executive officer

The Great Energy Challenge grant program, in collaboration with a distinguished group of scientists acting as the board of advisors, awards roughly a half-dozen grants per year. The goal of the grant program is to hasten the growth of promising, global energy solutions as a response to climate change, energy resource constraints and environmental limitations.

@NatGeoEnergy on Twitter

The Big Energy Question

What innovation should shape transportation in the future?

Vote and Comment »