E-jeepney maker Elmer Francisco expressed excitement at the prospect of government support after decades of restrictions on the sector’s growth.
The potential boost comes as the government has begun showing interest in aiding Franciso Motors’ expansion.
Elmer recently met with Rafael Consing Jr., president and CEO of Maharlika Investment Corp., the country’s first sovereign wealth fund, to discuss plans for manufacturing electric jeepneys in an economic zone in Camarines Norte.
Francisco is hopeful that his project aligns with MIC’s goals, which aims to maximize returns on investments while supporting developmental projects. With 200,000 public utility jeepneys (PUJs) due for an upgrade, the project ensures a ready market.
Francisco has been actively seeking support, meeting with Transportation Secretary Jimmy Bautista, LTFRBcChairman Jojo Guadiz, and Office of Transport Cooperatives chairman Andy Ortega in December 2023.
The goal was to secure their commitment to providing a P280,000 subsidy to jeepney drivers and operators who purchase eFrancisco Motor Corp.’s electric jeepneys under the Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) Modernization program.
Francisco, in a LinkedIn post, expressed mixed emotions, describing it as “bittersweet” given the company’s long history of government challenges.
He highlighted the potential partnership’s positive impact on Filipino workers, jeepney operators, drivers, commuters, and the country as a whole. To facilitate the transition, Francisco recently amended eFMC’s articles of incorporation to include being a transport service enterprise, allowing drivers and operators to maintain their franchise without establishing a new cooperative or company.
The fully electric eFMC jeepneys are priced at P985,000 for the first 1,000 buyers, slated for rollout by the second quarter.
Francisco is confident in the project’s viability, especially considering the lower cost compared to Chinese-made units. In September 2023, eFMC signed an agreement with VivoPower International PLC to develop and supply electric utility vehicle electrification kits for its new generation electric jeepneys.
eFMC has secured initial orders and is gearing up for the electrification of an additional 37,000 jeepneys.