Star 8 wins award for best solar power vehicles

Congratulations Star 8.

Star 8 has been awarded a Product Quality Excellence Award here in the Philippines for the Best Solar Power Vehicles.

Star 8 works hard to bring innovative and high quality green products onto the market, from solar vehicles to solar roof tiles, and it is great to have our work recognized.



Solar jeepneys will soon ply the streets

The days of the smoke-belching, diesel-fueled jeepneys will soon be a thing of the past with the arrival of solar-powered vehicles that are expected to make their debut in the next few months.

Star8, an innovative Australian company, has come up with its own version of a jeepney that is hoped to replace the iconic Filipino mode of transportation.

Longer and wider than its ageing counterpart, the solar jeep can sit 22 people comfortably and features private fans, WiFi, USB slots and DVD.

Each jeepney costs around R1.2 million and has a maximum speed of 45 kilometer per hour.

It is designed by Jacob Maimon, a 47-year-old Australian inventor and chief executive officer of Star8.

Maimon has entered into an agreement with the Federation of Jeepney Operators and Drivers of the Philippines (FEJODAP) to build 50,000 units which his company hopes to accomplish in two years.

“We are building a plant in Las Piñas next month that will employ around 100 to start production,” said Maimon. “We intend to deliver 250 in the first month of production.”

He said the plant can produce 25 jeepneys a day.

Maimon said he was inspired to design the jeepney after falling in love with the country.

“I love the Philippines. The people are warm and nice. My family intends to stay here permanently,” said Maimon who has a wife and four children back home in Melbourne.

The first time he rode the jeepney two years ago, Maimon felt sorry for the commuters.

“It was too hot, noisy and uncomfortable,” he recalled.

Yesterday, Maimon presented a prototype of the solar jeepney which has five solar panels on its roof. It was shipped from its production plant in Vietnam.

The demonstration was held in Molino, Cavite.

The jeepney runs even at night because its full-charged batteries can go 100 kilometers.

“It can also be run by electricity,” Maimon said.

The Australian inventor also disclosed that he has also entered a deal with the local government of Bacoor, Cavite.

“Strike (Revilla, Bacoor mayor) has ordered 2,000 trikes to replace the tricycles in his city,” he said.


$300 Million for Green Transportation Revolution in the Philippines – ADB

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is providing $300 million towards a groundbreaking project that will replace 100,000 gasoline-burning tricycles in the Philippines with clean, energy efficient electric tricycles, or E-Trikes.

“E-Trikes are a cleaner, greener transport solution for the Philippines, and provide a better quality of life for trike drivers,” said Neeraj Jain, ADB’s Country Director for the Philippines. “This project can help transform transportation in the Philippines, and positions the country as a leader in electric vehicle development in Asia.”

About 3.5 million gas-fuelled motorcycles and tricycles are currently operating in the Philippines, typically serving as short-distance taxis, with the average tricycle driver earning less than $10 a day. E-Trike drivers will save upwards of $5 a day in fuel costs, and the new E-Trikes have the capacity to carry more passengers. E-Trike drivers saw their daily incomes more than double during a pilot program in Metro Manila.

The new E-Trikes, which run on an electric motor and rechargeable lithium-ion battery, will be introduced to Metro Manila and other urban centers across the Philippines under a lease-to-own arrangement. Replacing 100,000 gasoline-powered trikes will enable the Philippine government to save more than $100 million a year in avoided fuel imports, while decreasing annual CO2 emissions by about 260,000 tons.

“This project will lessen the Philippines’ dependence on foreign oil imports, and by fabricating and assembling the tricycles domestically, it will create up to 10,000 jobs in the 5-year project implementation,” said Loreta G. Ayson, Undersecretary at the Depart of Energy.

In line with the government’s plan to develop a national e-vehicle industry, the project will support the establishment of an e-vehicle parts industry, battery supply chain, and charging stations, including five off-grid solar charging stations.

Without intervention, the Philippines is on a course to almost quadruple CO2 emissions in less than 25 years. Based on an ADB study, gasoline-fuelled tricycles are responsible for more than two-thirds of all air pollution generated by the country’s entire transport sector.

In addition to its $300 million loan, ADB is also administering another $105 million loan and grant from the Clean Technology Fund for other Philippine environmental-focused projects. The Government of the Philippines is providing $99 million counterpart funding for the project. The project will run for five years, with an estimated completion date of December 2017.


Solar vehicles conversion eyed

SERVICE vehicles of the city government of Baguio may be converted into solar-run machines in the future.

Recently, an advocacy group introduced a solar-powered bus and tricycle from Cambodia with promising features of minimal noise and zero gas emission.

The solar vehicles were allowed by the city government to ply the central business district for road test with free public rides for two months.

Mayor Mauricio Domogan said the road test will be the basis on social acceptability of the solar vehicles and will also show its road worthiness.

“The city may adopt the solar vehicle as service cars but we have to see first its capacity and capability to run uphill,” Domogan explained.
The maintenance cost and repair of the solar vehicles has to be studied also, Domogan said.

But this early, Domogan suggests the use of solar tricycles to replace the golf cars in the private golf clubs in Baguio to minimize burning gas or diesel.

“If the road test turns-out good, maybe we can also recommend the solar vehicles to our jeepney operators,” he added.

The solar-powered vehicles were manufactured by Star8 Asia PTY LTD in Cambodia and were introduced by Glad to be GREEN (G2BG) advocacy group.

Utilizing the power of the sun, the mini bus and the trike have minimal noise as well as zero gas emission.

Meanwhile, Councilor Joel Alangsab who chairs the city council’s Committee on Public Utilities, Transportation and Traffic Legislation, said the concept for green vehicles plying the city streets is good as these are environmentally friendly, lowers pollution and supports renewable energy.

But he said the group should work on the registration of the vehicles to the Department of Transportation and Communication and other agencies concerned to clarify matters like its franchise and how long the solar panels can will last.

Alangsab explained the issue at the moment is if the vehicles can go uphill so it would be acceptable to public utility vehicle drivers and operators.

“We cannot also make special route for it otherwise affected drivers would complain,” Alangasab added.

Gladys Vergara of G2BG said the bus can accommodate 20 persons while the tricycle can accommodate 10. The vehicles have a capacity of 20 degrees inclination only but she said new models abroad have higher uphill driving ability. (Jessa Mardy Polonio)

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on June 18, 2016.


Solar bus gives free rides

GREEN bus passengers will be ferried for free around the City.

Designated stops for the newly launched solar bus are Igorot Park – Harrison Road – BCNHS – BGH Rotunda – Kisad Road – Children’s Park/ Athletic Bowl – Harisson Road – Magsaysay Avenue – Bonifacio Road – SLU Rotunda.

The route is designed to go in and around Baguio’s central business district with designated pick-up and drop-off points.

“We are not here to replace or compete with existing public transport systems. The Green Bus will be operating for free because we’d like to inspire people to switch to green technology and start using solar energy to power their homes, businesses, and vehicles,” Glad to be Green CEO Gladys Vergara said.

The first solar powered bus is a project by Glad to be Green (G2BG) in partnership with Star 8 Philippines, providing the vehicles and Benguet Electric Cooperative, providing the driver, parking charging area and maintenance of the vehicle.

The Project is G2BG’s largest project in terms of scale and scope and is piloted in this mountain resort.

“If anything, we are here to offer a viable alternative that creates tangible value for the community,” Vergara added.

During the launch, G2BG officials led by Vergara, and Star 8 Solar president and CEO Jacob Maimon discussed preliminary plans on becoming more energy efficient and turning solar power sources.

Maimon offered his expertise and his company’s technology and offered easy-to-pay financing schemes for public utility vehicle operators in Baguio should they decide to exchange their diesel and gas transporters to solar or electric trikes or jeepneys.

“I can offer as low as USD$5.00 amortization for our vehicles,” added Maimom.

The Green Bus is a four-wheeled, 14-seater urban transporter with mounted solar panels that charges as it runs making use of the sun’s power.

Top speed for the bus is 50 kilometers per hour and could cover 120 kilometers before requiring a recharge, does not need gas, makes no noise, and emits no pollution.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on June 11, 2016.


Makes Sense

The first solar jeepney in the world, which was manufactured by Star 8 Philippines, is readied for a demonstration run at the company’s show room in Buhay na Tubig, Imus, Cavite. The solar jeep, which was developed with the help of the Federation of Jeepney Owners and Drivers Associations of the Philippines (Fejodap), will be available for public use this year. (Ali Vicoy)