September 2023

Landmark Agreement with Francisco Motors to Electrify Jeepneys in the Philippines

vivopower francisco motors new electric king of the road

Tembo E-LV, a subsidiary of the NASDAQ listed B Corp, VivoPower International, is pleased to announce that it has signed a definitive joint venture agreement with Francisco Motor Corporation, the pioneering manufacturers of the iconic jeepneys in the Philippines, which are primarily used for public transportation. Pursuant to the Agreement, Tembo will develop and supply electric utility vehicle (EUV) electrification kits for a new generation of electric jeepneys. Francisco Motors and Tembo have already secured their first orders and have commenced work to deliver on these jeepneys.

One of the Philippines’ cultural icons, jeepneys are the most common utility vehicle in the Philippines and the main mode of public transportation in the country, accounting for just over 40% of public transportation. There are more than 200,000 jeepneys on the road in the Philippines, of which more than 90% are at least 15 years old and running on second-hand diesel engines. In urban areas, jeepneys contribute up to 94% of ultrafine soot particles that are related to adverse respiratory and cardiovascular effects, increased cases of asthma, and premature deaths.

In June 2017, the Philippine government, through the Department of Transportation (DOTr), announced its plan to modernise the public transportation industry. Under the Public Utility Vehicle Modernisation Program (PUVMP), the DOTr requires that all jeepneys and other Public Utility Vehicles (PUVs) with at least 15 years of service be replaced with more energy-efficient and environment-friendly alternatives. The initiative provides jeepney drivers and operators the option of switching to Euro 4-compliant or electric engine vehicles. This creates a US$10bn+ addressable market for the replacement of the old jeepneys. In addition to the potential market for electric vehicles, the conversion of diesel-powered jeepneys to electric can reduce the carbon emissions of jeepney operations in the country. It can also significantly increase jeepney operators’ income by reducing daily fuel/energy costs by up to 80%, saving up to PhP60 billion per year for all the jeepneys operated in the Philippines.

Elmer Francisco, Chairman of Elmer Francisco Motor Corporation, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have signed this landmark deal with Tembo. We have had multiple approaches from various OEMs and electrification partners around the world, but the VivoPower and Tembo teams stood out for their genuine commitment to a purpose beyond solely the profit motive. In addition, we were impressed with the quality of their technical team and experience comprising world-class engineers formerly with the likes of Tesla, Rivian, Toyota, and others. Given the importance of the jeepney sector to the Philippines, the climate, the livelihoods of so many drivers, and the health and well-being of so many Filipinos, we wanted to be very careful and selective of who we partnered with for this iconic mission. We look forward to getting to work immediately given the initial orders we already have and the immediate pipeline of 37,000 jeepneys to be electrified. We look forward to a long and fruitful partnership with Tembo and VivoPower.”

Kevin Chin, VivoPower’s Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are honoured to have signed this exclusive definitive agreement with Francisco Motor Corporation to electrify the jeepneys, a much-loved cultural icon in the Philippines. Francisco Motors are the original pioneers of the jeepney, launching in 1947 post the ending of World War II. We stand in solidarity with Elmer Francisco, Chairman of Francisco Motors, in our shared mission to electrify and rejuvenate the jeepney in a manner that preserves the original design and look, as well as importantly improves the livelihood of the people employed by the jeepney industry.

“In addition, this will contribute to a significant reduction in carbon emissions in the Philippines, with jeepneys accounting for an estimated 4 million tonnes of CO2 emission per annum, not to mention the very significant addressable market opportunity. As a certified B Corporation, we believe this comprehensively ticks all the boxes of our triple bottom line mantra of people, planet, and profit. Beyond the triple bottom line impact, this development will also bring consequential benefits for Tembo’s EUV programmes for other industries including mining, defence, infrastructure and utilities, conservation parks, and agriculture amongst others. In particular, the transformational economies of scale, buying power, and access to low-cost assembly and manufacturing capabilities will help to further materially reduce the bill of material costs in the future for the benefit of our customers in industries such as mining, and defence.”

To read our full press release, and to keep up with all of VivoPower’s releases, visit our Press Releases page.

About Francisco Motors

Founded in 1947, Francisco Motors is the pioneering creator and manufacturer of the jeepney in the Philippines. Headquartered in Manila in the Philippines, Francisco Motors is leading the transition from manufacturing traditional diesel-powered jeepneys to modern electric jeepneys to help the Philippines in transitioning to cleaner modes of public transportation.


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