FPH companies to launch electric bus service in Batangas

August 27, 2021 by Dolly Ramos


Lopez Group companies under First Philippine Holdings Corporation (FPH) are working together to introduce a hi-tech, zero-emission bus shuttle service project as part of a program for integration of more green technology and decarbonization efforts in their businesses and allied services.

  FPH said that its engineering and construction subsidiary First Balfour, through unit Therma One Transport Corporation (TOTC), has reached an agreement with GET-Philippines, the local arm of US-based Global Electric Transport Worldwide, Inc. (GET), for the initial acquisition from GET of two new-generation COMET electric buses.

  TOTC has also finalized a separate agreement with electric transformer maker First Philec Inc., another FPH subsidiary, for the use of the first COMET bus by First Philec employees in Lopez-controlled First Philippine Industrial Park (FPIP), a 520-hectare special economic zone in Batangas.

  TOTC plans to replicate the non-polluting transport project in other business sites and projects where the project will be suitable.

  “We have been integrating sustainability in our businesses and in how we operate. We have been looking at investing in electric vehicles for service vehicles for some time now. For us, this is the future,” TOTC President Anthony Fernandez stressed during the signing agreements last Aug. 11.

  Fernandez said the 30-passenger COMET buses, scheduled for delivery in October, can travel up to 100 kilometers on a single charge. Each bus also comes equipped with wi-fi connection, a GPS or global position system device, and other amenities, including a contact-tracing app.

  He explained that each COMET bus can displace an estimated 40,000 kilograms of carbon dioxide or CO2 that the bus would otherwise spew to the atmosphere, if it were to run on fossil fuel.

  Studies have tagged the transport sector as a major emitter of CO2, a greenhouse gas whose massive and continued buildup in the atmosphere is being associated with climate change and destructive weather patterns, such as typhoons and floods. An overwhelming number of motor vehicles around the world run on gasoline or diesel -- fossil fuels with high CO2 content.

  A shift to the use of electric vehicles, which emit no CO2, has been identified as one solution to check the buildup of more greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. GET is developing green transport solutions, like the COMET -- the acronym for Community Optimized Managed Electric Transport -- as its response to the climate problem.

  First Philec and TOTC, tapped the services of GET-Philippines as their way of reinforcing support for FPH’s campaign against climate change.

  “I personally believe that the greatest of all achievements starts with an agglomeration of small, meaningful, and truly insightful steps. This demonstrates that we are ready to forge collaborations and partnerships for a decarbonized and regenerative future,” First Philec President Ariel Ong commented during the signing ceremony.  “We hope this is just the beginning of a truly consistent set of activities in order for us to share the mission and the message to our employees, to the larger community, and to the whole country.” 

            GET-Philippines President Freddie Tinga added: “Partnering with the Lopez Group, an organization renowned for its priority in the sustainable enterprise is a huge milestone. We expect that we will be together at the forefront of what we believe is a changing of the guard in the transport and sustainability sector.

  “As we have always said, our goal was not just to build a better vehicle, it has always been about helping to build a better world,” Tinga stressed.

  First Balfour holds the first BERDE-certified facility in the Philippines, the National Voluntary Green Building System recognized by the Department of Energy.

  As FPH’s construction arm, First Balfour has continuously introduced sustainable alternatives to traditional construction materials and methods. Its equipment rental business, T1 Rentals continues to take leaps in fleet efficiency by investing in greener equipment and employing GPS telematics to analyze equipment performance.

  TOTC has also implemented an incentive scheme for its truck drivers to improve fuel efficiency, enabling the company to save roughly 65,000 liters of fuel and reduce annual fuel costs by 16 percent.

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