AN Australian firm has introduced solar-powered vehicles in Cebu, in response to the public utility vehicles (PUV) modernization program of the government.

Jacob Maimon, president of Star 8 Green Technology Corp., said they are initially allocating 2,000 of these vehicles in Cebu, which may increase to 10,000 units six months after.

Maimon, an Australian scientist, said that while the vehicles will be given free to the fleet management group of their choice, they will earn through advertisements inside and outside the vehicles.

He said the vehicles are valued at P1.4 million for 20-passenger units and P1.6 million for 25-passenger units.

Star 8 will provide the vehicles for free and keep the privilege of putting up advertisements on the units.

In Metro Manila, they have already signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) for 600,000 solar-powered vehicles.

Maimon said there is no problem with power because every charge will give it 16 hours of power, which is equivalent to 120 kilometers.

Rolando “Bong” Laurel, Star 8 managing director, said the vehicles will be operational once the Land Transportation Office (LTO) approves its registration.

Laurel said he is hoping that Cebu media will urge LTO in Cebu to fast-track the registration of the vehicles, not four months as promised.

Laurel said the solar-powered vehicles will replace gasoline or diesel-fed passenger jeepneys that are already 15 years old and above.

He said that in shifting to solar-power, the transport operators can help prevent global warming and assure fresh air for the next generation.

Benjamin Ryan Yu, chairman of Cebu Integrated Transport Service Cooperative and Alex Bordadora, chairman of the Visayas United Drivers Transport Service Cooperative (VUDTRASCO), said in a press conference that they are supporting the modernization program of the government.

Bordadora said that VUDTRASCO alone has 500 passenger jeepney units. (EOB)