Firm seeks to market e-trikes in Philippines

Kyodo

Japanese electric vehicles maker and distributor Uzushio Electric Co. is making a bid to distribute electric tricycles in the Philippines as the country implements a plan to replace 100,000 gasoline-burning, air-polluting tricycles by 2016.

Tokushi Nakashima, head of BEET Philippine Inc., a local subsidiary of Uzushio Electric Co., told a press conference Monday that his company has submitted a bid to the Asian Development Bank, which is providing $300 million toward the e-tricycle project being carried out in cooperation with the Philippine government.

The company, which opened in March, also registered its e-trike model with the Philippines’ Land Transportation Office, affirming its roadworthiness and making it accessible for interested private consumers.

Nakashima said Uzushio Electric, having developed more than 50 models of electric vehicles in Japan, is ready to help the Philippines solve its environmental woes through participation in the project, while at the same time improve the lives of tricycle drivers who are expected to take home a bigger daily income because electricity costs less than gasoline.

Tricycles, which carry between four to nine passengers, are commonly seen in residential areas of Metro Manila, as well as on highways in the countryside. They are notoriously loud and emit a lot of exhaust.

The Philippine government hopes the e-tricycle project will cut down on noise, save more than $100 million a year in fuel imports, create jobs through local production of e-tricycles and decrease annual carbon dioxide emissions by about 260,000 tons.

An ADB study shows gasoline-fueled tricycles are responsible for more than two-thirds of all air pollution generated by the country’s entire transport sector, and without intervention, the carbon emissions are set to almost quadruple in less than 25 years.

Nakashima said BEET’s e-tricycle is made of five key components, which satisfy the requirements for the Philippines’ various road and weather conditions: a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, an AC motor, an inverter, a vehicle control unit, and a battery management system.

It weighs around 500 kg, accommodates up to seven people including the driver, runs at speeds of up to 60 kph and can cover 50 km on a single charge.

Nakashima said BEET Philippine has tied up with Softbank Mobile Corp. to develop a billing system for lease or loan payment, as well as the integration of an advanced telecommunication system to track the trikes.

BEET Philippine is in talks with potential assemblers in the Philippines in preparation for mass production, he added.

Nakashima declined to disclose how much the company’s e-tricycle units would sell for since the ADB is still assessing its bid, along with those of another Japanese firm, a South Korean one and a Taiwanese one.