Onion Mobility Co Ltd has unveiled a bunch of prototypes of its upcoming Onion T1 electric auto-rickshaw, to be produced domestically and put on sale within the year.

The prototypes were flown in last week from South Korea and showcased publicly on March 28.

This comes just over a month after the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) gave the nod to the company’s $20 million electric motorbike and auto-rickshaw assembly plant, the first of its kind in the Kingdom.

Located in Kandal province’s Suvannaphum Special Economic Zone (SSEZ), the factory is expected to generate 380 jobs, according to CDC.

According to company plans, the plant will be online and churning out Onion T1s for the domestic market before December 31.

Onion Mobility is a subsidiary of Singapore-based MVLLABS Pte Ltd (MVL), the company behind the TADA app, Southeast Asia’s first blockchain-based zero-commission ride-hailing service, which is operated in Cambodia by MVL TADA (Cambodia) Co Ltd.

The Onion T1 can travel 100km on a full charge at an average cost of $2, Onion Mobility said in a press release, noting that this is 20 per cent cheaper than the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) counterparts so heavily used on Cambodian roads.

It described the Onion T1 as a modern, comfortable, noiseless and cost-effective vehicle with an attractive appearance that contributes to environmental protection.

MVL TADA Cambodia general manager Chim Poly told The Post on March 30 that the auto-rickshaw received loads of attention from the public at the public display.

“This is just a preview of the real Onion T1 for the public to see. Large-scale installation for market [production] has not yet begun – the company needs more time to dig into the details of prices and actual market demand,” he said.

The Onion T1 will increase income for drivers, he said, asserting that its comfortable ride would benefit the community as a whole.

According to Poly, the company is also in the process of setting up in Phnom Penh showrooms and “Onion Stations” to charge the vehicles.

MVL founder and CEO Kay Woo said electric auto-rickshaws will come in vogue once the locally-assembled Onion T1 hits the market, lauding it as a “competitive vehicle linked to TADA travel bookings”.

“We are creating an ecosystem that can financially assist auto-rickshaw drivers in Cambodia,” he said.

There were 35,218 auto-rickshaws registered in the Kingdom at end-2019, according to the Ministry of Public Works and Transport’s 2019 annual performance report.