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'E-jeepneys' make debut on Philippine capital's roads

The E-jeepney.
by Staff Writers
Manila (AFP) July 1, 2008
Electric-powered versions of the popular Philippine smoke-belching jeepney made their debut in Manila on Tuesday in a bid to lessen pollution in the capital's congested streets.

Three "E-jeepneys" were launched by Jejomar Binay, mayor of the financial district of Makati, who said passengers would travel free during the first week of service.

The E-jeepneys, or minibuses, were unveiled last year but could only operate within private, gated communities because the transport department had not approved their use on public roads.

Permission was finally given last month, Binay said.

"We envision they will soon be a common sight on Makati's busy jeepney routes," he said.

"We are optimistic about the positive impact of the electric jeepneys on the air quality of our city and other key cities of the country as well," Binay added.

If the E-jeepneys -- which are built in the Philippines with Chinese engines -- prove viable, Binay said the city will eventually field a fleet of 50.

The development of the E-jeepneys was supported by environmental group Greenpeace as part of an effort to find less polluting alternatives to the smoke-belching jeepneys that are the backbone of commuter transport in the Philippines.

The vehicles can be charged by simply plugging into an electric socket.

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Mazda sees hydrogen cars available on large scale by 2020 at best
Madrid (AFP) June 30, 2008
Hydrogen-powered cars will not be commercially available on a large scale before 2020, a senior official from Japanese auto maker Mazda said Monday in Spain at an international oil conference.

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