A Philippine manufacturer took the electric auto rickshaw a step further by making an amphibious version. A new company called H2O Technologies recently introduced the Salamander amphibious tricycle.
Anyone who’s been to developing countries like India, Thailand or the Philippines will certainly not miss the auto rickshaws (aka tuktuks or tricycles, depending on where you are).
For those who aren’t in the know, these are three wheeled vehicles with a cab and are an essential mode of transportation in many countries around the globe.
Not surprisingly, there have been many efforts to make these vehicles more environment-friendly. In India, versions running on compressed natural gas or CNG are already plying the streets of Delhi, Pune and other major cities to reduce city smog. Lately, electric versions have been introduced.
The Philippines play host to dozens of typhoons a year, gaining strength from year to year due to climate change. Hence, it is but logical that it puts into service a vehicle that is able to cope with flooding, and at the same time does not contribute to carbon emissions that most likely cause it.
The Salamander rickshaw has a six-person seating capacity, but this goes down to four when deployed over water. It is powered by a 5kW electric engine, but a gasoline powered version with a 250cc engine will also be made available. The target price is US$6,345 (PhP 280,000) which is pretty steep for an auto rickshaw, but a steal for a rescue vehicle.
Atoy Llave, co-founder of H2O Technologies, drew inspiration from the country’s experience with Typhoon Ketsana. The typhoon, locally as Typhoon Ondoy, submerged much of the capital of Manila, paralyzing most of the country for days. It claimed 464 lives in the country, including some who were swept away by swollen rivers.
The Salamander is still in the development stage and H2O Technologies is looking for financing to further its development. We just hope that this comes sooner than later so that we can see these babies driving up to us come hell or high water when the next typhoon comes around.