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Obama to check Philippine electric jeep

The City Optimized Managed Electric Transport (Comet). Photo from Global Electric Transport (GET) Ltd. Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines — United States President Barack Obama will start the second day of his visit to the Philippines by viewing the electric vehicle that is being eyed as a replacement for jeepneys in Metro Manila.

According to the US Embassy in Manila, Obama will participate in the viewing of the City Optimized Managed Electric Transport (Comet) at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Hotel at 9:10 a.m.

The Comet is designed by the Global Electric Transport (GET) Ltd., which is planning to deploy about 25,000 units of the zero-emission jeepney in the next five years to create a greener and cleaner metropolis.

GET country head Anthony Dy said by replacing a jeepney with one Comet, 22 million grams of carbon dioxide and 120,000 grams of nitrogen oxide per vehicle will be removed every year.

"Because we want to have a cleaner Manila, we will be offering a program wherein existing jeepney drivers and operators will have an option to drop and substitute their jeepneys. So we will just replace the vehicle but not the driver," Dy was quoted as saying in a previous STAR report.

According to the reports, the Comet can comfortably seat 16 passengers with a height clearance of over six feet. It can charge on a 220-volt outlet and will only require a four-hour charge time. On a full range, the vehicle has a range of 80 to 100 kilometers.

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GET chief executive officer Kenneth Montler also said the vehicle uses 300 parts instead of the usual 4,000 parts of a typical diesel-run engine for cost-efficient manufacturing and minimal maintenance.

He added that the Comet will apply a cashless fare system to ensure secure fare collection and that drivers can focus their eyes on the road, similar to systems in other countries.

The Comet was launched in September 2013 and its initial routes will ply from SM North EDSA to SM Megamall, according to Montler.

"GET was formed by a group within the US and the Philippines. The Philippines is a great place to showcase what we want to do because we have a city that suffers from congestion, noise and air pollution," he said.

Related stories: GET to launch e-shuttle route along EDSA | GET to deploy 25,000 e-jeepneys

Obama to speak before troops

After the viewing of the Comet, Obama is expected to deliver a speech before American and Filipino troops at the Philippine Army Gym in Fort Bonifacio at 10:15 a.m.

He will then participate in a wreath laying ceremony at the Manila American Cemetery at 11:05 a.m.

Obama will depart Manila en route to Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska at 12:05 p.m., concluding his four-nation Asian trip.

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