Comet Mini-bus To Replace Jeepneys

by Joseph G. Lariosa

MANILA (JGL) – The American GI’s were the first ones to introduce the diesel-powered jeepneys (the popular public mini-bus passenger transportation vehicles in the Philippines) after World War II.

And Americans will attempt to replace jeepneys with their ingenuity – the new US-made electric mini bus prototype – vehicle known as Global Electric Transportation (GET), a 50-50 venture between U.S. and Filipino investors.

President Obama started his second and last day in the Philippines Tuesday to inspect an old red jeepney with its shiny chrome fenders and colorful red livery, then stepped aboard a new version.


President Obama was guided in his tour by Ken Montler, CEO Global Electric Transportation Ltd.; Freddie Tinga, President, Global Electric Transportation Ltd., and Robert Martin at Pangea’s 60,000 square-foot manufacturing/assembly plant in Cavite province. Mike del Rosario is the director of operations, Pangea Philippines.

Pangea Motors, based in Vancouver, Washington is the sole provider of the system.

The system known as City Optimized Managed Electric Transport (COMET) will produce 30,000 of the pollution spewing jeepneys that will be taken off the road over the next three years.

Jeepneys are the ubiquitous multi-person vehicle independently operated mini buses on Manila’s roads, which are crammed with passengers on two long benches, and crawl thru narrow city streets.

The prototype viewed by President Obama was larger than a jeepney with higher ceilings and looks more comfortable. It accepts only fare cards, not cash commonly used by passengers to pay the jeepney driver.

GET uses leading American electric vehicle technology to solve mass transport related problems in urbanized emerging market megacities and environmentally impacted areas. GET moves public transportation from an interruption in people’s lives to a continuation of their lives. GET is the vehicle of change.

According to the handout from the White House, GET is a 50-50 venture between American and Filipino investors to develop a connected mass transport system.

Pangea Motors, an American company based in Vancouver, WA, is the exclusive provider and distributor of electric vehicles for GET.
GET’s City Optimized Managed Electric Transport (COMET) will launch in Manila in May 2014.

Pangea Motors provides the COMET’s engineering, design and manufacturing.  GET Philippines delivers the fleet management, a cashless fare system, passenger media analytics and final vehicle assembly.

The GET-Pangea partnership intends to launch operations in the United States and Asia.

Its economic impact is such that once fully operational, the COMET will generate 100’s of American jobs and 100’s more among downstream suppliers to be mirrored where COMET fleets are deployed.

In the next three years, GET anticipates purchases of $200 million in US high-end electronic components for the COMET. Over the next three years, 30,000 jeepneys will be taken off the road, with 30,000 COMET drivers operating 15,000 COMETs. The COMET will alleviate the $50 million/day in economic loss the Philippines experiences due to traffic congestion.

According to AFP White House Correspondent Stephen Collinson, on the environmental impact, the COMET will address pollution, climate change, and healthcare issues.

Manila is one of the top five cities at risk to suffer the adverse impacts of climate change.  Vehicles cause 85% of Manila’s pollution.

Air pollution in the Philippines causes $50 million in annual healthcare costs and 12% of total deaths.  Diesel jeepneys in Manila contribute to 15% particulate matter (PM) emissions and 11% carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. GET is currently developing microgrid capability for sustainable charging.



Here comes the COMET: Pangea’s first production electric vehicle is the COMET, a 16-passenger electric shuttle. The vehicle features safe and efficient lithium battery technology providing the COMET up to 100 kilometer-range of a 5-hour, 220V charge. (JGLPhotograb from Pangeamotor website)

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