In a first for Acleda Bank – if not Cambodia – Green E-bike, the company that rents out eco-friendly electric and pedal-powered bicycles in Siem Reap, has just partnered up with the institution to offer reduced-interest rate loans on the vehicles in the hope of promoting a more environmentally friendly approach to transport.
The company was founded by Yann Vaudin in 2014, a year after he first came to the Kingdom on holiday.
“When I visited the temples by normal bike, it was really exhausting and dangerous for people: hot and far!” he recalled.
He was inspired by the visit, and the green bikes he rents out to tourists are becoming more common on Siem Reap’s streets. Now he’s hoping to reach a much wider audience than temple-touring travellers and, in the process, promote a message of environmental awareness.
Three months ago, he wrote to Acleda Bank with his idea for reducing the interest for loans on E-bikes and, he said, they jumped on board immediately. “It is a victory for me . . . and a first in Cambodia,” said Vaudin.
So Phonnary, Acleda’s executive vice president and group chief operations officer, said: “This is the first time that we have created a loan like this . . . we have to start to protect the environment, so when he wrote to us, we agreed that it was a good idea and sent him the offer letter.”
“It also helps to meet our customers’ expectations, who are thinking more about the environment.”
Made in China, but designed to European specifications, Vaudin says the green bikes are power-assisted by rechargeable lead acid or lithium batteries, with motors that can run at 500 to 1,200 watts. According to Vaudin, it costs as little as $2 per month to power them, which is done by removing the battery and plugging it into a socket. A full battery has a range of up to 65km.
Vaudin also hopes that hotels and tour operators will jump on the back of his green bike plan. “They can make a profit, and market themselves as green,” he said.