Uzushio Electric Co Ltd announced that it started volume production of the “68VM” electric three-wheeled vehicle at the end of November 2014 in the Philippines.
BEMAC Electric Transportation Philippines (BEET) Inc, a subsidiary of Uzushio Electric, manufactures the power control unit (PCU) of the 68VM and inspects completed vehicles. And Almazora Motors Corp, a local partner of Uzushio Electric, as Uzushio Electric sembles the vehicle. The production capacity is 500 units per month (6,000 units per year), and it is scheduled to be increased to 1,000 units per month (12,000 units per year) in July 2015.
For the PCU of the 68VM, a battery management system (BMS) that Uzushio Electric developed in a joint research with Ehime Prefecture was employed. Also, for the major devices of the vehicle such as its lithium-ion (Li-ion) rechargeable battery and inverter, the company employed products made by Japanese manufacturers to improve product quality and reliability.
The 68VM measures 3,300 (L) x 1,440 (W) x 1,820mm (H). It can carry six passengers and one driver. The capacity of the battery is 3-5kWh. The output of the motor is 5kW. When it is driven at a speed of 20km/h (the most fuel-efficient speed, approx 12.4mph), its drive range is 80km. Otherwise, its drive range is 50km. The maximum speed of the vehicle is 50km/h. Its hill-climbing ability is 16°.
In the Philippines, about four million three-wheeled taxis that are made by adding a sidecar to a 125cc gasoline-powered motorbike and called “tricycle” are used. They serve as citizens’ means of transportation, but some old models reportedly cause air pollution and traffic congestion. Therefore, the government of the Philippines has been engaged in many projects to convert tricycles into electric vehicles.