Like a trike to wa­ter

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING - BEN COX­WORTH

IF there are two things that the Philip­pines has a lot of, it’s mo­torised trikes and small flood-prone vil­lages.

That’s why Filipino startup H2O Tech­nolo­gies has de­vel­oped the Sala­man­der. It’s a three-wheeler that can be driven on the road like a nor­mal ve­hi­cle most of the time, but that can also take to the wa­ter when floods oc­cur.

There are two ver­sions of the ve­hi­cle — a petrol/hy­dro­gen model, and one that’s fully elec­tric. The first ver­sion, called the Hy­drOPlus, has a 200-cc en­gine that runs on regular petrol.

Should hy­dro­gen be avail­able, how­ever, it also has a fuel blend­ing sys­tem that lets it run on a com­bi­na­tion of petrol and hy­dro­gen. This should both cut down on emis­sions, and give it con­sid­er­ably bet­ter mileage. The elec­tric model is in­stead driven by a 3,000 W 48-volt mo­tor, that is in turn pow­ered by four 90-Ah gel-type bat­ter­ies. There’s no word on range or charg­ing time, or on mileage for the petrol ver­sion.

A max­i­mum land speed of 80 km/h (50 mph) is pos­si­ble in the Hy­drOPLus — the elec­tric is a lit­tle slower — with both mod­els man­ag­ing 6 knots (11 km/h or 7 mph) on the wa­ter. Both ver­sions can also carry six pas­sen­gers on land (in­clud­ing the driver), and four when in boat mode.

In the wa­ter a rear-mounted marine­grade pro­pel­ler pro­pels the trike, run by the same mo­tor that turns the wheels when on the road. Sim­ply pulling a lever lets the driver switch be­tween modes.

Although H2O would ul­ti­mately like to dis­trib­ute Sala­man­ders world­wide, the com­pany is work­ing to­wards sell­ing them in barangays (vil­lages) for now, and has launched a Kick­starter cam­paign to help fi­nance that goal. The es­ti­mated price range is 295 000 to 495 000 Philip­pine pe­sos (about R80 300 to R133 536). — Giz­


At Wheels we love trikes, even more if the three-wheeler is a boat to boot, like this Sala­man­der from the Philip­pines.

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