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Tuk-tuk maker eyes Cambodian market

Tuk-tuk maker eyes Cambodian market

JAPAN-BASED Terra Motors Corporation viewed Cambodia as a potential market for its electric tuk-tuk, the company’s general manager of overseas sales said yesterday.  

“We’re thinking of entering the Cambodian market as well. But at this moment, there are no concrete plans. [We] just hope to enter,” Kota Kandori told the Post.

Terra Motors’ e-tricycle, powered by a lithium battery, can reach a maximum speed of 50 kilometres an hour.

And, with a length of 3.3 metres, it can accommodate six passengers.

According to Kandori, Terra  Motors is thinking of selling the electric trike for about $3,000.

“We have never been to Cambodia, but I think fuel costs are high and there is some air pollution,” he said.

“So if you’re using our three-wheeler as a taxi, the fuel costs are one-quarter of those of a petrol one, and with zero emissions.

“It will be competitive.”

Terra Motors recently completed its e-tricycle prototype and plans to begin mass production in autumn.

With funds from the Asian Development Bank, the Philippine government was considering buying 1,000 vehicles from Terra Motors and renting them to local drivers,  Kandori said.

“The Philippine government wants to change from gasoline tricycles to 100,000 e-tricycle units [by] 2016,” he said, adding that the process was still in the bidding phase.

Vorn Pao, president of the Independent Democracy of Informal Economy Associat-ion, said that at $3,000 a unit, he was doubtful that Cam-bodian tuk-tuk drivers would be able to afford the high-tech tricycle.

The asking price was about double that of tuk-tuks currently on the Cambodian market, he said.

“It is unlikely to succeed in selling in the Cambodian market,” Pao told the Post yesterday.

There had been tuk-tuks imported from India for just $1,700 for a tuk-tuk driver, but most Cambodian drivers still preferred tuk-tuks made locally, he said.

Han Phirom, a tuk-tuk driver in Phnom Penh, said he liked the design of the el-ectric tricycle and the fact that it did not contribute to air pollution.

But, having paid $1,500 for his own tuk-tuk, Phirom said the price of the e-tricycle was too high for him and probably for most other drivers in Cambodia.

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