E-Trikes - Driving Change

Interested bidders/groups may view the mock up model at ADB HQ. For more information, contact Mariane Sual, 6324444 loc 70781.

There are approximately 3.5 million conventional combustion engine tricycles and motorcycles operating in the Philippines, contributing millions of tons of carbon dioxide emissions to the environment every year. These vehicles have a dramatic impact on air quality, affecting many aspects of life in the Philippines, from national health to increased exposure to climate change risks.

ADB, in partnership with the Philippine government and the Department of Energy, hopes to transform the public transportation sector by widely adopting electric vehicles, specifically tricycles (e-trikes) throughout the Philippines. Using innovative technology and competitive financing, this project will achieve widespread adoption of electric tricycles and the development of a sustainable local e-trike manufacturing industry.

Note: As of January 2012, the only electric tricycles operating under the e-trike pilot project sponsored by ADB and the Philippine Department of Energy (DOE) are the 20 units running in Mandaluyong City. Other than those 20 units, no other electric tricycles have been deployed under the ADB-DOE Project anywhere in the Philippines.


Energy use in non-OECD Asia is expected to increase 118% by 2035, and harmful greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector are projected to increase more than 200% worldwide by 2030. Emissions from the transport sector represent 30% of all air pollution, and a significant contributor is inefficient, out-dated public transportation.

As the Philippine economy continues to grow, and energy demand increases accordingly, two scenarios are likely:

  1. a growing economy will lead to higher quality of life, more cars on the road, and a higher volume of greenhouse gas emissions; and
  2. a rising world demand for oil will result in higher gas prices for consumers.

Given these scenarios, electric vehicles pose a valuable solution for the nation's energy security and for millions of consumers who depend on imported energy.

As a net importer of energy, the growing transportation needs of the Philippines will become more and more costly over time. This makes using electricity for transportation a more sustainable long-term solution. By adopting electric tricycles, the Philippines can become a leader in green public transportation and pave the way for a growing electric vehicles market around the world.

Project description

ADB is working with the Government of the Philippines to promote the adoption of e-trikes first in Metro Manila and, soon, throughout the country. Ultimately, ADB and the government hope to see 100,000 electric tricycles on the road by 2016.

Electric vehicles are highly efficient, using up to 75% of their energy to power the vehicle versus only 20% used in most internal combustion engines. The e-trike produces no noise and zero tailpipe emissions and can be charged at night during off-peak electricity hours.

ADB will work with local government units (LGUs) and the private sector to establish financing mechanisms whereby tricycle drivers will have the opportunity to lease or lease-to-own the e-trikes by paying less than 200 pesos a day. This will allow the driver a higher take-home income. For example, a conventional tricycle needs between 5 and 7 liters of gasoline to travel approximately 100 kilometers (km), costing 250 to 350 pesos. To travel the same 100 km, an e-trike will use between 3 kilowatt hours (kWh) and 5 kWh of electricity, costing only 30 to 50 pesos. The 200 peso difference in fuel savings will help the driver pay for the cost of the e-trike.


This project will take advantage of cutting-edge technology that is readily available, but that faces institutional market challenges. The success of electric vehicles has been heavily dependent on the evolution of battery technology. In recent years, heavy lead acid batteries have given way to lithium ion battery technology, which allows for 2000 to 3000 cycle charges as well as a lighter load with stronger acceleration capability.

Lithium ion batteries are expected to become the most popular technology in plug-in-hybrid and all-electric-hybrid vehicles and are projected to dominate the electric vehicle battery market by 2017. Today's lithium ion batteries are produced almost exclusively in Asia, representing a significant opportunity for the Philippines.

LGUs will also have considerable influence over the design of e-trikes in their areas. E-trike bodies can range in size and design, and tests are being conducted on submersible motors for areas that are more prone to flooding.

Some municipalities may also choose to erect solar charging stations for the e-trikes, compounding their benefits. By charging the units with solar power, the e-trike becomes a zero emissions mode of transportation, thereby promoting renewable energy, mitigating the harmful effects of climate change, and driving change in the country and throughout the region.

See list of   Lithium Ion Battery Suppliers.*

Related links

* Disclaimer: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is providing this list of battery suppliers not as an endorsement but to facilitate industry development. These suppliers have formally expressed interest to work on the project in response to ADB's earlier request for information.