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Filipino engineer turned his vintage Toyota car into an electric car

Ferdinand Raquelsantos an inventor and clean energy supporter has a long love affair with electric cars. Via the prodding of environmental organization Greenpeace, the Philippine Utility Vehicles Inc. (PHUV) a company he co-founded with other Filipino vehicle parts manufacturers and designed the first batch of electric jeepneys in 2007.

Raquelsantos, who also loves collecting antique vehicles, planned to turn his 1976 Toyota Publica into an electric vehicle three years later. He felt the size of his Publica, which was claimed to be the smallest Toyota in the 1960s and 1970s, was suitable for conversion into an electric vehicle.

However, there were some technical issues to overcome, especially when it came to connecting the electric motor's shaft to the current transmission but engineer and his colleagues were able to solve the puzzle.

At the time, he spent about P250,000 on the whole conversion. In 2010, the car was named "Love-Joy" and became the first LTO-licensed electric car as well as the first registered car conversion.

Raquelsantos' electric Toyota Publica is only suitable for short journeys, as it only has a range of around 100 kilometers on a single charge. When he was called to talk at the Philippine Electrical Vehicle Summit the next year, he recalls having to stop at a gas station in Taguig for a solid 30 minutes to refuel his car.

“Technology has changed greatly. We're now using lithium-ion batteries, which are much smaller and have a longer range,” says the engineer, who has worked in the automobile industry for three decades.

According to Raquelsantos, it's equivalent to a normal vehicle. The trip is silky smooth, and there is no sound due to the absence of a motor. It therefore does not pollute the atmosphere because it does not use gasoline. When a car is trapped in traffic, it doesn't use much electricity.

Since this Pinoy invention is only in the research and development stage, the engineer says he can't share any of the information just yet. However, if the manufacturer is ready for manufacturing, he hopes to ship it within the year.


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