Toy car enthusiast designs ‘first’ Filipino e-vehicle

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By Anna Valmero

(Watch this video of e-jeepney produced by loQal.ph)

PASIG CITY, METRO MANILA—Meet Ariel Torres, the country’s “first” electric vehicle (e-vehicle) maker.

The toy car collector and proud Filipino designer is credited with designing and creating the first “green” vehicle in the Philippines-the electric bicycle- which he then registered at the Land Transportation Office (LTO).

“I was the first to develop the first electric vehicle in the country. Designing the first electric vehicle in the country, which is the e-bike, was a product of the long hours I spent collecting electric toy cars and reverse engineering them. I buy electric toys and I destroy them to know the components and how they run together,” Ariel told LOQAL.ph during the sidelines of the first Electric Vehicle Summit.

Ariel admitted that after he graduated from high school, he did not stop pursuing his unique interests, continually tweaking and tinkering around with cars that he bought from malls and old toys of his nephews.

“After sometime when I got the basic understanding of how the components make the toys work, I got the idea to make it into an electric bike. That was when I started developing the e-bike in 2003 until the next two years, that was also the time I spent designing the electric controller for vehicles that would replace the motor engines,” said Ariel.

Long hours spent studying toy components paid off when Ariel developed the e-bike in 2003 and founded Serrotma Trading Enterprises Inc., where he is president and chief executive. “It took me two years to develop (the e-bike) and after it was already okay to register it with the LTO, I registered it as the first “green” vehicle with the orange plate ZI 1001,” he said.

He added that his company is the first and only registered e-vehicle manufacturer with LTO.

By mid-2005, Ariel is already moving on to design an electric jeepney (e-jeepney). After two years of development, his company started shipping e-jeepneys to re-elected Gov. Chavit Singson’s Baluarte public zoo and park in Vigan town of Ilocos Norte. That was the same year when Makati launched its first e-jeepney that ferries office workers around the business district.

Seeing the good response to e-jeepneys, Ariel and his team also started designing five prototypes of electric tricycles or e-trikes in 2007 and two years after, marketed the best design of the five as a green vehicle and as source of emergency power for homes during power blackouts. “It packs 2,000 watts and can serve as emergency power for electric fan, lights and television during power blackouts. The power is regenerative so iikot ang power at hindi agad mauubos.”

Aside from Vigan, Ariel said his company has supplied e-bikes and e-coaches (or e-jeepneys) to a rural bank in Surigao City,  severa private companies in Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, and Mariano Marcos State University, Ariel said.

The e-vehicles has an average mileage of 60 to 100 kilometers on a single charge of a 60 Volt battery (composed of five pieces of 12 Volts battery). His savings and loans from banks helped him fund the development of e-vehicles that reached up to $1 million.

In the next five to ten years, he is optimistic that more Filipinos and local companies will patronize e-vehicles. An e-jeepney is 80 percent more energy efficient compared to diesel-powered motor vehicles.

“My target shipments for next year up to the next three to five years is about 5,000 units of e-trikes and e-jeepneys and that is a positive sign that there is positive acceptance on the use of e-vehicles,” said Ariel, who noted that a unit of e-trike costs P150,000 while an e-jeepney, which he branded as e-coach, sells at P650,00 per unit.

What is needed to bring the cost of of e-vehicles down? “I think the biggest challenge is for us Filipinos to fabricate the parts for our e-vehicles locally so there is no need to import anymore. Today, 30 percent of the parts of e-vehicles are imported while the rest is locally sourced. I hope to venture in the design of local raw materials to bring down costs and make e-vehicles more affordable,” said Ariel.

Serrotma Trading Enterprises Inc. is located at3019 P. Liwanang St., BF Resort Village, Las Piñas City. Contact Ariel Torres at (02) 556-1897, 556-1898, 874-7458 and 872-5726 or email amt@amt.com.ph or amt_ebike@yahoo.com.


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