Necessity is the mother of invention and a body kit maker may have found the answer to one of the country’s pressing needs. Perennial floodings in Metro Manila and in some provinces have spurred the creation of an amphibious vehicle.
Designed by the country’s King of Bodykits Victor “Atoy” Llave with a group of enterprising youngsters whose purpose is to find a solution to the country’s flood problem, H20 Technologies recently unveiled the first ever Philippine made amphibious tricycle.
Branded as the Salamander, this amphibious vehicle took five years to develop and revolved around the concept of a five-seater motorized tricycle with a sturdy hull and fiber glass body. It is powered by a 250cc motorcycle engine, and can be controlled by a handlebar or a stick when the Salamander is running on water. The design team is also led by the company’s Chief Engineer, Lamberto Armada who also revealed that they have created two models that runs with either a mechanical or an electric motor. “Electric vehicles and the infrastructure needed to support these vehicles are still in its early stages. Years from now there will be charging stations situated throughout the urban areas but right now, people will have to resort to traditional methods instead. That’s why we created the fuel based version as well to ensure that we were able to bring our innovation to the people who need it today.” Armada went on further to say “the Salamander will help us to overcome the challenges we have today during rainy season with flooding; but also be ready as the market shifts to more sustainable and eco-friendly electric vehicles in the near future.”
In a country where over half of the 42,000 Barangays are prone to flooding, the Salamander would fit well into the Philippines landscape requirements. “This is why we created the Salamander” said David Ong – Chairman of the Board for H2O Technologies.
Patented by H2O technologies, the Salamander can be functions like a normal tricycle on land, and transforms into an amphibious vehicle once operated in a watery environment. It can reach speeds of up to 80kph on land, and six knots in water with a full compliment of six people including the driver. Deriving knowledge from his family’s boat manufacturing business, one of H2O’s founding member/CEO Dominic Chung derived his expertise from boat building and coordinated with Atoy regarding the tricycle’s unique body structure. “The Salamander was designed to withstand a certain degree of impact or damage and can still maintain its buoyancy and stability even rough seas,” explains Chung.
The Salamander is expected to cost etween P295,000 and P495,000. The H2O group is currently in talks with private organizations which have expressed interest in funding the mass production of the Salamander. “Our target date for actual manufacturing is this year. I just hope that the government sees the potential of this aqua tricycle so we can provide this technology to the people in need,” says Chung.
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