Philipine's Etro Agila motorcycles are not only cheap, but also 100% eco-friendly
2/26/15 4:00 am chumakdenis 1
Motorbikes and motorcycles are pretty much the primary mode of transportation of not just individuals, but often entire families.
In the Philippines, they are also the key source of income for breadwinners who use them to transport passenger and produce in their sidecars.
In the Philippines alone there's a estimated 2.8 million such vehicles, over third of them still equipped with banned 2-stroke engines.
So,an American-Filippino company called Phil Etro EV, Inc. with engineering offices in Vancouver, Washington, decided this was the market they wanted to address with an affordable electric motorcycle called the Agila.
Agila is a lithium-ion-powered machine that is powerful enough to pull a sidecar, opening up huge commercial market in the Philippines.
A few words about the company
Montano and Lim are the founders of Phil Etro EV Inc., a company that manufactures and distributes electric motorcycles and other light vehicles. They founded the company in 2010, aware that air pollution has become a real danger to millions of families and children, including their own.
“Necessity is the mother of invention,” they say. Business partners Jose Montano and Noel Lim agree, as they see the need to address air pollution in the Philippines by building a vehicle that emits near zero carbon dioxide.
With the air quality in Metro Manila reaching near toxic levels, millions of people are suffering from its consequences, especially in terms of health.
Montano and Lim believe that the two-stroke tricycle is a contributing factor to the country’s worsening air pollution. At present, of the 2.8 million tricycles in the country, more than a million continue to be propelled by old, two-stroke gasoline or diesel-fed engines. Each tricycle also emits an estimated 4.5 metric tons of CO2 per year.
Montano and Lim, in an effort to find a plausible solution, set out to develop an electric motorcycle unit that can be used as a tricycle. Their vision was to create an electric tricycle that can perform under the harsh rigors of Philippine roads and respond to the heavy demands that tricycles have to fulfill.
After three years of research and development and rigorous road testing,Phil Etro EV Inc.’s answer to the tricycle problem in the country became a reality.
The breakthrough product, called the “Agila”, is the first electric motorcycle designed and assembled in the Philippines. Agila is particularly suited for tricycle application because of its reliable performance and practicality.
The Agila can carry a load of 350 kilograms, or about five to seven passengers, and can maneuver its way over steep inclined roads.
It also uses standard motorcycle parts,so in case of breaking spare parts are readily available at various motorcycle shops.
Rental/charge payment system
The battery rental/charge payment system works like this. The Agila owner buys a scratch card with a special code on it. Using a cellphone, he calls Etro who authorizes charging the bike at designated recharge locations where only as much energy in put into the battery as the customer paid for. What those battery rental rates and charging prices will be were not yet announced. The company estimates it will have a 23-30% margin on the sale of the Agila; and even more on the rentals and recharging revenue. The latter it will share with the card vendors, the charging station operators, which could be one and same, and the local electric utility.
This week the company announced that it plans to produce its first 2000 units in 2015 and will have the first 200 ready to roll off its assembly line before the end of March. Much of the bike is assembled from standard motorcycles parts available in the country, but its the brains and nervous system of the Agila that makes it a standout in the nascent e-cycle field.
Will the price remain the same?
Yes, it will.To keep the price affordable, the company is following the Renault model of renting the battery to the bike owner. Integrated into the lithium-ion battery management system is a GSM wireless communications system that only allows the bike to start or be charged once the owner prepays for the service, just like most cellphone services in the developing world. Using pre-paid scratch-off cards with monetary values that can range as low as 'a few hours' worth of charging, Etro and its partner resellers, know they will be paid, otherwise the bike is useless.
It's an attractive bike with hints of Brammo and Honda styling in it. But more intriguing is its business mode, which is clearly designed for development world, especially in Asia. As such, it will bear watching.