Text and photos by Kap Maceda Aguila
CHINA-HEADQUARTERED vehicle manufacturer Foton opens the door to a new age of mobility powered by cleaner, more powerful, yet more fuel-efficient engines adhering to the more stringent Euro4 emission standard.
Marketed as Blue Energy, the new-generation engines are conceived and built for Foton by Columbus, Indiana-based diesel power plant expert Cummins. The company had signed an agreement with Foton to form the Beijing Foton Cummins Engine Co., Ltd. (BFCEC) in 2006. Today, its plant in China makes more than 400,000 engines a year.
Said Foton Motor Philippines President Rommel Sytin at the recent Blue Energy launch: “Foton is always committed to provide exceptional product lines through scientific and technological innovations, and Blue Energy is the continued expression of this promise… [It is] a product of earnest R&D that serves up a host of benefits such as power, durability, reliability, excellent efficiency and clean operation.”
The Foton initiative allows it to keep in lockstep with the government fiat for the introduction of cleaner-emission vehicles as mandated by the Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999, the Philippine Environmental Impact Statement System, and DENR Administrative Order No. 2015-04.
Two variants of the Euro4 power plants are made available locally — the Foton Cummins ISF 2.8 and 3.8. Both are engineered to promote low intake temperature, prevent abnormalities in combustion, and operate more quietly — while providing improved low-end torque pulling power. The heightened performance is complemented with fuel efficiency.
The engine is attached to a more efficient turbocharger; an improved exhaust-gas recirculation system to yield lower emission and promote more thorough burning of fuel; a new, computer-governed common rail direct injection system that results in optimized air/fuel mix; a diesel oxidizing catalyst and particle oxidizing catalyst which basically convert carbon monoxide, unburned hydrocarbons, and particulates to carbon dioxide and water; and an improved turbo intercooler. Less particulate matter is emitted, and the risk of engine damage has been slashed.
Foton Motor Philippines still has an existing portfolio of Euro3 vehicles, and the Blue Energy variants will sport a blue and silver decal to visually distinguish them. The firm says that three variations of the popular Tornado light-duty truck, Toplander A/T SUV, Traveler and Toano vans, and Thunder A/T pickup will get Blue Energy options.
MODERN LIGHT-DUTY TRUCK
In addition to its Blue Energy engines, Foton also presented its new light-duty truck, the Tornado M4.2C. Priced at P1.19 million (for the cabin chassis), the vehicle is powered by the previously mentioned ISF 3.8 Foton Cummins Blue Energy Euro4 engine. The turbocharged (with intercooler) 14-foot truck musters 500 Nm and 154 hp, and features a computer-controlled Bosch common rail direct injection system. For cleaner operation, the engine boasts exhaust gas recirculation technology, plus DOC (diesel oxidizing catalyst) and POC (particle oxidizing catalyst) for enhanced fuel efficiency and lower emission.
The new Tornado variant is touted as the most advanced in its class — boasting safety technologies and features such as WABCO braking technology and a reverse sensor and camera, according to Foton Motor Philippines executive vice president Anna Maria Parado. A redesigned panoramic windshield provides increased visibility, while an additional passenger-side mirror enhances blind-spot coverage. The height of the truck’s headlights can be adjusted; three-point ELR seat belts come standard.
Within the spacious, comfortable cabin is an advanced LED touch screen at the center of the vehicle’s infotainment system. This accommodates the imaging when reversing, and makes possible Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free calling and music. The system is also GPS-ready, and features an MP5 and SD card slot. Steering wheel buttons for cruise control, entertainment, and radio and call functions are also available. Air-conditioning is standard. Dual overhead compartments are ideal receptacles for delivery documents and other valuables, and the center seat backrest can be collapsed to reveal cup holders and an additional storage compartment. The steering column can be tilt-adjusted, and the seats are ergonomically designed — with the driver’s seat adjustable in four ways, while the passenger seat can be reclined.
The Tornado M4.2C has a high-strength steel chassis that allows higher payload capacity and heightened stability — particularly when loaded. A rivet-less upper-frame chassis means easier fitting of various cargo body configurations, and a corrosion-free alloy fuel tank and air cylinder ensures many years of worry-free use. The company also highlights its robust after-sales service, underscored by a three-year, unlimited-mileage warranty.
“The Philippines now joins Singapore and Vietnam as the first countries to implement Euro4 as emission standard — well ahead of other ASEAN neighbors like Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand… that’s something we can be proud of,” said Mr. Sytin.