As the government’s PUV modernization program looms this 2018, a legendary motoring brand is looking towards the future by hoping to partner with a local manufacturer to breathe new life to a Philippine icon.
Sarao Motors, one of the oldest manufacturers of the jeepney is looking to partner with Le Guider International E-Trike Electronic Assembly Philippines to manufacture an updated, environmentally-sound version of the public conveyance to comply with the government’s PUV modernization program, Top Gear reports.
Under the government’s planned modernization program for the country’s thousands of jeepneys, vehicles that are 15 years old and beyond will no longer be allowed to be registered at the Land Transportation Office (LTO). Their franchises will also no longer be renewed by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).
Because of this, many jeepney coopartives and operators are now looking to replace their dilapidated and old units, which gives Sarao Motors and Le Guider International E-Trike Electronic Assembly Philippines a golden opportunity.
Ed Sarao, the son of the late Sarao founder Leonardo Sarao Sr. has been meeting with Engr. Youssef Z. Ahmad, chairman of the Le Guider International E-Trike Electronic Assembly Philippines to discuss a partnership of sorts, which will see Sarao-made chassis mated with electric motors.
Le Guider is the only company on earth that’s capable of assembling an electric motor that can interface with a manually-operated clutch gearbox, unlike modern EVs, Ahmad’s jeepneys will have first to fifth gears. All of the necessary motors and electronics are all Philippine made, and the lithium-titanate batteries that are used with the vehicle have livespans of at least 10 years.
Ahmad’s system is also able to convert regular diesel-powered jeepneys to electrics, though the price is steep. While he did not reveal how much a conversion would cost, he says that a fully-built e-jeep would run around Php 2 million.
The costs are high, but if you factor minimal maintenance from the electric engine (no oil changes or diesel calibration required) then the price isn’t too bad. As a comparison, Ahmad says that a Euro 4-compliant diesel engine would have an initial cost of Php 400,000, with the cost of the unit balooning to Php 4.4 million over a span of 10 years.