Philippines Gets its First Electric Light Truck From Chinese Truckmaker Foton

The first light electric truck in the Philippines formally went on sale last week after being introduced at a truck show last month. The Foton Tornado EV 4×2, designed specifically for the hot and humid conditions in Asia, as well as the flooded streets during the rainy months, is priced at P3.6M (~$66,200).

The price is competitive considering that diesel-powered light trucks are near or within the P3.0 million (~$55,000) to P3.4 million (~$64,000) spread. These include offerings from Fuso, Isuzu, Hino, and Mitsubishi.

“We want to be in front of the electrification of commercial vehicles in the Philippines,” Foton Philippines General Manager Levy Santos told CleanTechnica at the Big Show launch event. The Big Show is Foton’s Philippines’ annual exhibition of its products, thwarted for three years because of the pandemic.

“Electric commercial vehicles will slowly creep into the scene because of increased sustainability concerns, the continued implementation of the Philippine Clean Air Act and road safety issues,” Edmund Araga, president of the Electric Vehicles Association of the Philippines (EVAP), told CleanTechnica.

In the Philippines, the proliferation of repurposed or re-engineered trucks pose a big issue on emissions, and road safety. Many of these trucks, coming from Japan, are converted from right-hand drive to left-hand drive, and usually have a diesel engine that has not been completely emissions tested. Foton believes that an electric truck powertrain will be very efficient and sustainable too.

The Foton Tornado EV 4×2 utilizes a permanent magnet synchronous motor with peak outputs of 154 horsepower and 300 Nm of torque. With a driving range of 208 kilometers, the truck can do in-city deliveries with its one ton payload. The motor provides ample acceleration, according to Foton, enough to accelerate from zero to 50 km/h in just 9 seconds and reach a top speed of 90 km/h. More impressive though is the truck’s gradeability — the steepest hill a truck can climb using maximum torque at the lowest gear is at 20%.

Charging is done via an AC charger. It takes 12 hours to charge the battery from 20% to 100% charge. It also has an option of a high capacity DC charger with a full charge in 2-4 hours.

“Foton Motor Philippines has always strived to be at the forefront of mobility solutions. We were the first Chinese automotive brand to break into the Top 10 in the Philippine market — way before other Chinese brands even entered the country. And now, we’ve rolled out yet another game-changer in the Foton Tornado EV,” Santos added.

The Foton Tornado EV weighs in at 6,000 kilograms (GVW) with a load mass of 3,600 kilograms and a curb weight of 2,400 kilograms. It measures 5,960 x 1.925 x 2,260 mm on a 3,360 mm wheelbase. It is stopped using a traditional hydraulic system for ease of maintenance and repairs. Safety features include ABS, EBD, central locking with remote key, and reverse sensor as standard. Comfort and convenience is provided by a built-in air conditioning system, multimedia (MP3/Aux/USB) audio system, adjustable steering wheel, and power windows.

“We’re doubly excited that this state-of-the-art all-electric truck will be making its debut at our Foton’s Big Show, which has always been a favorite event of truck enthusiasts and users alike, generating record orders from small to large business entrepreneurs, year in and year out,” Santos concluded.

Foton Motor in China has been actively promoting its electric vehicle lineup, including the Thunder EV truck, in domestic and international markets. The company has stated its goal to increase its annual sales of new energy vehicles (NEVs), including electric vehicles, to 200,000 units by 2025.

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