This New E-Jeepney Is More Cost-Effective AND Preserves the Iconic Jeepney Look
Jan 5, 2024   •   Kaira Guererro
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Jan 5, 2024   •   Kaira Guererro
It’s safe to say the public isn’t receiving the government’s PUV Modernization plan well. Especially since it means bidding goodbye to the iconic Philippine jeepney, the King of the Road. With the modernization plan, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Land Transportation Franchising Board (LTFRB) hope to replace old PUVs with modern, environmentally sustainable ones. But there’s one big problem: These new vehicles will cost operators and drivers millions of pesos. Many even stand to lose their jobs. Amid the issue, there seems to be hope for Pinoys. Local manufacturer Francisco Motors offers electric jeepneys that not only tick the government’s boxes for modernization but are also a lot more affordable.
Francisco Motors said they would sell their e-jeepney for P985,000, a significantly lower price than the P1.1 million to P3 million cost from other electric vehicle makers. Francisco Motors owner Elmer Francisco said that his company decided to create an affordable alternative to help fellow Filipinos adapt to the government’s modernization plan.
“Hindi kayo lulubog sa utang at lalo pang lalaki ang kita niyo sa pang-araw-araw,” he said in a Facebook post. “Francisco Jeepney ang solusyon sa modernisasyon mula sa Francisco Motors, ang pinaka una at pinaka malaking manggagawa ng 100% brand new Jeepney sa kasaysayan ng mundo.”
Here’s a closer look at the Francisco Motors e-jeepney:
All units of the Francisco Jeepney will be made in the Philippines, specifically in an ecozone in Camarines Norte. Reports say the initial units are expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2024.
Back in March 2023, the Francisco Jeepney also made headlines for its affordability without sacrificing quality. The e-jeepney featured impressive advancements including a sensor for an automatic fare system where passengers can tap their cards and an extendable ramp for PWD passengers. It also includes a CCTV and a dashcam for security.
The e-jeepney can fit 22 passengers, 11 on each row plus eight standing passengers so it can transport a total of 30 people. Francisco also said that their e-jeepney comes in a plain white cover so jeepney drivers can design it however they want.
“Bakit natin tatanggalin yung iconic design when we can modernize it?” asked Francisco in an interview.
“Ganitong jeep ang tunay na modernisasyon, hindi ung minibus,” commented one Pinoy.
“An Iconic Modernized Jeepney Model only in the Philippines that never fades. Manufactured only by Francisco Motors. Mabuhay po kayo,” said another.
In an interview with Francisco back in March 2023, he laid out an easy plan for operators and drivers to purchase their e-jeepneys.
“We are considering in-house financing,” he said. “‘Pag in-house financing kasi para siyang boundary hulog on a larger scale. Ang pinaka-importante para sa mga transport operators natin is kaya nilang bayaran ‘yung monthly amortization. So ang solusyon diyan is we extend the loan term.”
In a separate interview conducted this January 2024, Francisco detailed their flexible, interest-free payment terms. He said that with the government providing a P280,000 subsidy, operators and drivers only have to pay P705,000. They can do so in installments of P10,000 per month.
(1) Bakit nga ba may transport strike?
Hi mga marites!
— Reycel Hyacenth Nacario Bendaña (@hyabendana) March 4, 2023
Over the past few weeks, there have been protests both offline and online — from transport strikes to trending #NoToJeepneyPhaseout on social media. The jeepney phaseout is just one of the aspects of the government’s PUV Modernization program which includes overhauling PUV franchises and routes. The program emphasizes putting only safe, reliable, and environmentally friendly PUVs on the road. Unfortunately, the old jeepneys with dated designs and old engines are the complete opposite of that.
The backlash comes from the hefty price tag for these modern e-jeepneys which ranges from P1.1 million to P3 million. It’s an amount PUJ drivers can’t afford, not without burying themselves under massive debt. Thousands of drivers stand to lose their livelihood by the end of January 2024, the extended deadline for consolidation.
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