MANILA, Philippines—Who can best design an electric tricycle that can fit six people, or can be loaded with a sack of rice or livestock than a Filipino?
The Department of Energy (DOE) launched on January 18 the “Nationwide Contest for the Best E-Trike Design” that seeks to “bring out the best ideas from Filipinos” for an electric tricycle (E-Trike) that is safe, functional and practical.
Energy Jose Rene Almendras said that while companies from technologically advanced countries have expressed interest in investing in developing the E-Trike, they preferred that Filipinos provide the design for the three-wheel vehicle.
The e-Trike program is part of the DOE’s solution towards lessening the country’s dependence on petroleum products, and protecting the people from the effects of rising oil prices worldwide.
“Sabi nga ng mga Hapon, ‘mas marami pa kaming matututunan sa inyo about this vehicle format’ because sa Japan wala naman silang tricycle,” Almendras said.
He also quoted a Japanese auto expert as saying the motorcycle was designed to carry two people, or a maximum of three—but Filipinos were able to use it to carry eight people.
While funds needed to develop the technology will not be a problem, Almendras said, what is needed at this time is the design for the E-Trike. “We’re looking for a practical design,” he said. “One that can be used in Metro Manila, in a poblacion, one that could fit a hog, that can accommodate sacks of rice or vegetables—a utility vehicle.”
Almendras said that the tricycle can be considered as the mode of transportation of the “vast majority” of Filipinos. “More Filipinos benefit from this mode of transportation,” he said.
He added that in the provinces tricycles are used not only to transport people, but also for business. “How many times have we seen a tricycle loaded with two sacks of rice, and so on?” he asked.
“Kaya po kami nag-focus sa tricycle,” he said “kasi kung ito ang solusyunan natin, napakalaki ng impact nito dun sa mga kababayan natin na nangangailangan ng the most solution to higher energy pricing.”
Almendras further said many Chinese and Japanese businessmen have shown interest in what could be the start of a “rural utility vehicle.” A representative of a Japanese firm said that the e-Trike may also have market overseas, especially in developing Asian countries.
The deadline for submission of design entries will be on February 17.
The winning E-trike design may be adapted in the implementation of the E-trike project of DOE, which aims to benefit around one million registered tricycle drivers nationwide.
Almendras also said that some 20,000 E-trike units will be delivered to local government units, which will then be responsible for franchise, operations, supervision, and regulation of the e-Trikes.
For more details about the design contest, visit the DOE website at http://www.doe.gov.ph.