Phuket Tech: Japan’s electric tuk-tuk gets ready for the road
TECH: A Japanese company hopes to win a big slice of Asia’s transport market with a futuristic battery-operated tuk-tuk that could slash fuel costs and cut environmental pollution from city traffic.
Thursday 2 May 2013, 03:38PM
Terra Motors has unveiled a prototype of their electric tuk-tuk, named the “EV Tricycle Taxi” – a sleek-looking blue and white machine that can carry up to six people, including the driver.
The new electric vehicle, just over three metres long and about one-and-a-half metres wide, is powered by a lithium battery, which can run for 50 kilometres on one full charge.
It takes about two hours to recharge the battery.
One feature contemporary feature that the new design lacks is the familiar “tuk tuk” engine sound - instead, it’s almost whisper-quiet.
The first fleet of the new vehicles is already on order for the Philippines, as part of a plan to replace 100,000 gas-powered tuk-tuks in that country by 2016, with more efficient, cost-effective electric vehicles.
The new electric tuk-tuks aren’t cheap – they’re priced at around US$6,300 (B190,000), which is around three to four times the cost of a typical fuel-powered three-wheeled tuk-tuk in the Philippines.
To ease their introduction, they’ll be offered to tuk-tuk drivers on a lease-to-own basis.
The Philippines plan is being underwritten by a US$300 million (B9 billion) loan from the Asian Development Bank.
The company says the new vehicle could save drivers as much as US$5 (B150) per day in fuel costs, as well as cutting down on air pollution and noise in densely populated urban areas.