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Here comes the e-trike.

The sound of tricycles is, to most of us, our alarm clocks. The louder those engines roar, the more you presume it must be late in the morning. And if you're driving out of your village, you'll know it's rush hour if there are more tricycles zipping around you, their engines putt-putting loudly beside your car.

Tricycles in my village are the reason why I stopped walking for exercise. Their number is quite overwhelming; their driving maneuvers, extraordinary; and the strong odor their engines flush into the air takes away the reason to go walking in the first place. The odor takes away your breath of fresh air; and their number and maneuvers put a lot of stress into the act of simply walking!

Yet, no one will make a move to take away tricycles. One, the move will be "anti-voter"; and two, the majority of residents need a vehicle to transport them out of villages to the main roads where buses can bring them to the city centers. Tricycles fill a need. So, are we left with no options but to tolerate them -- dirty air, included?

Recently, we saw what might be the solution to the problem of tricycles taking over the village roads -- electric trikes!

EMotors, Inc., a Filipino company assembling electric trikes, opened its flagship branch and first dealership in the Visayas in Mandaue City, Cebu. The opening also was the occasion to launch the ZUM electric trikes in a market where tricycles have also become some sort of major transportation in many communities -- in Cebu island.

Ms. Beth Lee, EMotors chief executive officer, seemed to have the answer to the many problems related to the tricycle. "We offer a solution to serve the needs of Filipinos for an affordable, low cost, low-maintenance, innovative and easy to use vehicle -- one that helps increase their income while at the same time, helps clean the air."

She explained that with the growth of Cebu, especially its tourism industry, the "use of clean, green, zero-emission e-trikes to shuttle Cebuanos and tourists will not only create jobs, and yield increased incomes for owners, but also serve as a clear commitment to sustainability."

"The economics and sustainability of e-trikes is actually very good. It can be a means of transportation that can be used also in rural, remote areas, reaching the people who really cannot afford cars. And, the cost of [fossil] fuel goes higher as you go to more remote areas due to the high cost of logistics getting the fuel to those places," said Sec. Almendras, the former DOE Secretary.

"In places where the price of gasoline is higher, the use of electric tricycles makes even more sense. It results in greater income for the driver, a cleaner environment for all and is safer for the riding public," he said.

Siquijor Vice Governor Dingdong Avanzado praised the e-trike as, "something our province can really benefit from since we are so dependent on tricycles as the mode of transportation."

The opening of the flagship branch in Mandaue is the start of EMotors' nationwide network. "This important milestone marks the start of our nationwide business operations. It also marks the beginning of our long-standing advocacy of poverty alleviation, livelihood and job creation, and climate change mitigation," Ms. Lee said.

EMotors Inc. is the country's only 100% Filipino-owned manufacturer and assembler of three-wheeled, zero-emission electric vehicles ("e-trikes"), to be registered with the Dept. of Trade and Industry/Board of Investment's Motor Vehicle Development Program under EO156.

It is likewise the first to be registered with the EO226, the Investment Priority Plan. The company is also accredited with the Land Transportation Office (LTO).

The ribbon cutting and opening ceremonies were officiated by Cabinet Secretary Rene Almendras, Cebu Vice Governor Agnes Magpale, International Designer Kenneth Cobonpue, EMI CEO Elizabeth Lee, Founding Director Helen Lee, and Founding Director Lucio Ong.


From left: Secretary Rene Almendras, EMI CEO Elizabeth Lee, Founding Director Helen Lee, Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes, and Founding Director Lucio Ong with the ZUM Yellow E-Cruizer.
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Title Annotation:Motoring
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Mar 6, 2014
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