In spite of the global consensus that carbon dioxide emissions are responsible for the blanket of smog that plagues urban metros across the globe, widespread adoption of electrical vehicles has not been realised. Especially cities in the Asian region where Tuk-Tuks and similar vehicles are the main mode of transport for millions of people, critical levels of air pollution remain a daily reality.
Vehicle cost remains the single biggest barrier to EV market growth, the critical component being the cost of the batteries needed to run EVs. One company that has looked at the problem from a different perspective, has found a unique way to make EVs more affordable and in the process do their bit to clean up the air in greater Asia.
TalinoEV, a US-based startup that operates mainly in the Philippines, has separated the cost of the vehicle from the cost of the battery and in so doing made it possible for companies to provide on-demand, short-distance transportation in dense urban environments. EV owners use their vehicles on a pre-paid basis, much like mobile phone use. Instead of paying for the battery in one go, users pay for it as they use it. The company calls it the TalinoEV’s “patak-patak” pay-as-you-use tricycle ownership system.
By amortising the cost of the battery over time, the cost of the electrical vehicle is brought close to that of traditional petrol and gas vehicles.
CEO Henry Abreu and cofounder Marc Ira initially pitched their brainchild at a contest they won sponsored by the Stamford Innovation Center and the Angel Investor Forum back in February. The two con-founders, both Filipinos and Stamford alumni, developed “smartpacks” – composed of an efficient lithium-ion battery and a battery management system – that function as the “brains” of EVs.
TalinoEV uses large-form lithium-ion battery packs which are more energy efficient than lead acid batteries, last longer and do not need to be fully discharged in order to be recharged again. Batteries are protected by TalinoEV’s specialised software which monitors the batteries through internal sensors and a remote cloud-based network. The battery management algorithms are optimised for daily high-frequency use as well as harsh tropical conditions.
The wireless monitoring sensors inside each battery pack report the condition of the vehicle, facilitating remote debugging and preventing unnecessary and expensive visits by EV technicians. It acts as an early warning system of potential problems with the vehicle that can then be attended to in time, preventing serious damage.
Other great features include onboard GPS and a remote kill switch which renders the EV useless in case of theft.
The TalinoEV smart lithium-ion battery packs have been deployed in the Philippines to be used in EV manufacturin, or to upgrade existing lead acid batteries.
According to the Asia Development Bank there are approximately 3.5 million conventional combustion engine tricycles and motorcycles operating in the Philippines, contributing millions of tons of carbon dioxide emissions to the environment. ADB, the Philippine government, and the Philippine Department of Energy are working together to promote the adoption of electric vehicles, specifically e-trikes throughout the Philippines.