in Bucaramanga presented Colombia´s first electric car to a proud
audience of journalists, politicians and academics Saturday.
The Salamandra –Spanish for Salamander- is a two seat car the size of Mr Bean´s
mini-cooper, with a curvy and compact design that brings back
memories of the Volkswagen Beetle or the long time Colombian
favorite, the Renault 4.
The first model of the Salamandra line is the Lexion a
three wheeled vehicle that works with electricity or gasoline. It´s
fitted with a 15 horse power engine that can propel the handsome car to 65 km
per hour speeds.
It´s not quite as fast as a gas guzzling vehicle, but the Lexion´s promoters say their
invention outperforms the “green” competition. “Unlike the Reva, this
car can climb
hills” affirms Salamandra designer and general manager William
Mercay. “It can climb 22 degree inclinations at 40km per hour and
it can run for 70km before needing a recharge”
Salamandra production to begin in July in a factory outside
Bucaramanga. Spanish Investor Carlos Gonzalez said the Lexion
will sell for approximately 5,000 Euros, a price that makes it “at
least five times cheaper than electric cars sold in Europe and the
The Salamandra Lexion was built and
designed in Colombia with the backing of start up company Yakey
International, a network of investors, designers and engineers that
is developing green technologies in Spain and Latin America.
Yakey investors have
already set up Salamandra franchises in Mexico and Spain and the
electric vehicle is set to appear in those countries roads during the
first half of 2010.
Ever optimistic, the
Venezuelan born Mr Mercay, says that future –four wheeled- members
of the Salamandra family will accommodate five passengers and reach 100km
per hour. He´s also working on an engine that will run with
compressed air and on a Salamandra that will be able to advance
through water, just like the amphibian the car took its name from. (photos: Manuel Rueda)