Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Scooter connects to phone

Scooter connects to phone

Terra Motors’ new A4000i electric scooter
Terra Motors’ new A4000i electric scooter, to be sold in the Asian market in December, includes a smartphone connection. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Scooter connects to phone

Japan-base Terra Motors said it plans to sell its smartphone-compatible electric scooter in Cambodia by the end of this year.

The lithium-battery-powered A4000i, introduced last week in Tokyo, can be connected to an iPhone, delivering live data while driving.

The cost per bike? Around $4,500.

“We will start to sell this scooter in December in all Asian countries, including Cambodia,” said Tetsuya Ohashi, a spokeswoman for Terra Motors. “We are now planning to have a branch office in Cambodia in one to two years.”

First, users download the required app from the company’s website. With the iPhone plugged into the scooter and covered with a protective lid below the odometer, the screen shows live updates on electricity consumption, battery power and location.

A more advanced model with navigation software is in the works.

Going at a maximum speed of 65 kilometres per hour, the electric vehicle has a length of 1.79 metres and weighs 118 kilograms. It takes about four to five hours of charging to regain a full battery.

“We think [of] Cambodia as a big potential market,” Ohashi said.

Some aren’t so sure about its prospects.

“My personal opinion is that this scooter will be too highly priced to be successful for your average Khmer,” Kevin Stainburn, president of the Phnom Penh Vespa Club, said.

“While it looks young and trendy, I think only the young rich Khmers of the more well-to-do-families will be able to afford it. These gimmicks on the scooters, such as hooking up to an iPhone, are not practical nor needed in this country, and therefore, I don’t think it will attract buyers.”

Terra Motors said they plan to develop less expensive models in the future and enable the connection to cheaper devices using Android smartphones.

Demand for both transport and personal technology is nothing new.

AEON Microfinance (Cambodia) Co, part of Japan-based AEON Group, said in May that sales by instalment for electrical appliances and motorbikes increased by 715 per cent in the first quarter of 2013 year on year, an upward trend that industry experts say will continue.

Since AEON Microfinance started business in December 2011, loan disbursement reached $2.5 million, with 5,000 new customers in the first quarter of this year, compared to $343,000 in the same period of 2012, according to a May interview with managing director Daisuke Maeda.

“Smartphones and PCs are the most popular, followed by motorbikes,” he said at the time.

The battery-driven scooter is not the first product Terra Motors is banking on introducing to the local market.

In March, the company told the Post that they were thinking of introducing their e-tricycle, an electric tuk-tuk.

Mass production doesn’t start until later this year.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen: Full country reopening to be decided in two weeks

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has announced that if the Covid-19 situation remains stable for 15 consecutive days from the end of the October 5-7 Pchum Ben public holiday, Cambodia will reopen fully, albeit in the context of Covid-19 whereby people have to adjust their lives to

  • Cambodia sets new Covid-19 quarantine rules

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Will Evergrande change the way Chinese developers do business in Cambodia?

    China’s property sector policy has exposed the grim financial condition of real estate developers including those operating in Cambodia, which raises questions over the viability of their projects and business going forward The dark blue netting draping over one of Yuetai Group Co Ltd’

  • Cambodia unveils new quarantine regulations

    The government has modified Covid-19 quarantine requirements, shortening the duration for, among others, Cambodian officials, foreign diplomats and delegations, investors and inbound travellers in general. According to an official notice signed by Minister of Health Mam Bun Heng late on October 16, quarantine length for Cambodian

  • Phnom Penh governor: Show Covid-19 vaccination cards, or else

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng late on October 5 issued a directive requiring all people aged 18 and over and the parents of children aged 6-17 to produce Covid-19 vaccination cards when entering schools, markets, malls, marts, eateries and other business establishments that have been permitted

  • Cambodia seeks probe into 'false reports' on Hun Sen's alleged Cypriot passport

    Minister of Justice Koeut Rith on September 6 wrote a letter to his Cypriot counterpart Stephie Dracos requesting cooperation in investigating and providing the truth in relation to the "exaggerative and false allegations" that Prime Minister Hun Sen holds a Cypriot passport. In his letter, the